Just how much does child care cost for parents in America?

If you’re a parent, you know how debilitating the cost of child care can be on your wallet. From weekly tuition costs that may rise with little notice to other expenses like gas, food, and doctor visits that add to the weekly expenditure, paying for your child’s care while your working may seem like more trouble than its worth at times.

A new study by the Committee for Economic Development underscores the point of how burdensome child care costs are for American families. According to the study, “childcare costs consume an average of 7.2% of household income for those with children in paid care” and “parents with children in paid child care pay an average of $143 per week ($7,436 per 52-week year) for child care services.”

That’s just the national average. In other states, the costs are higher.

In Florida, “the average annual cost of care for an infant is $8,376 in a child care center and $7,449 in a family child care home.”

Dependent upon the family’s income, if the home includes two parents, and work schedules, those costs may differ significantly.

But the crux of the study lies between the economy and how it links with the cost of child care. As a continued example, Florida’s economic growth and labor participation rate would increase if more families had “access to the organized child care market.”

Simply put: if more families had a better connection to healthy, organized child care centers with potential aid from the state, we would see production increase at work and a bump to our economy.

This study also proves the point of having universal preschool for all children nationwide. While the federal government would foot the bill to create the program, doing so would, again, help grow this nation’s economy.

There is also the case for wage growth that would pay workers more so that the cost of childcare isn’t so heavy.

Not only would a uniform universal preschool program help many children develop better social skills, it would also help to even the playing field academically for many low-income children.

On the surface, we want to ostensibly help working families in this country but our economic and social policies say otherwise.

If this study doesn’t make the case for universal preschool, which it does, it most certainly proves that we have placed many working families in an economic ditch by doing enough to help them.

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