Due to the costs involved, many working parents have a tough time finding childcare. They must decide whether to pay more than they can afford for expensive, high-quality care, settle for lower-quality care just so they can work, or leave the workforce altogether to raise their kids full-time. Now, a new study provides a closer look at the dilemma in the United States, counting the number of parents who have had to make major career sacrifices because of it.
Last week the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report that analyzed data from the National Survey of Children's Health. Its major finding: in 2016 alone, almost 2 million parents of kids ages 5 and younger had to quit a job, turn down a job or greatly change their job because of issues finding care providers.
The CAP broke down its findings state-by-state, with California having the highest number of parents who've had to make such work sacrifices at 197,781. Rounding out the top five are Texas (165,924), New York (123,142), Florida (100,711) and Pennsylvania (88,958).
The report comes just a few weeks after the CAP released findings that revealed over half the country lives in a childcare desert, aka ZIP codes with either no childcare providers or with very few childcare centers that are overcrowded.
Based on the CAP's research on the topic, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Bob Casey (D-PA), and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced The Child Care for Working Families Act last Thursday, which would ensure every kid has access to high-quality, affordable early learning and care. According to Refinery29, the legislation would raise the amount of federal funding for childcare centers so that families who make under 150 percent of their state's median income don't end up spending more than 7 percent of their income on services providing care for their kids.