In this fact sheet, authors Marybeth Mattingly and Christopher Wimer use the Supplemental Poverty Measure to assess the extent to which child care costs are pushing families with young children into poverty or preventing them from escaping it. They focus on families with at least one child under age 6 who report any child care expenditures. They report that one third of poor families who pay for child care for their young children are pushed into poverty by their child care expenses. Families most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses include households with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with a black or Hispanic head of household, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time. Their findings suggest that lowering out-of-pocket child care expenses for families with young children would serve to reduce poverty. Additionally, things like increased subsidies may expand access to higher quality child care or open the door to increased labor force participation.

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2017


National Fact Sheet No. 36


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



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