Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, collected in late summer through the fall of 2021, this brief documents recent racial and income disparities in reports of inadequate access to childcare and identifies the employment-related consequences of these shortages.
The authors find that, in Fall 2021, about 5 million U.S. households had a child under age 12 who was unable to attend childcare as a result of it being closed, unavailable, unaffordable, or because parents were concerned about their child’s safety in the past month. Black and low-income households were more likely to experience inadequate childcare access. About one in five households with inadequate childcare access suffered a related employment loss as a result of time needed to care for children.
The authors suggest that swift policy actions to stem the loss of childcare slots are needed in the immediate term, including bolstering the wages of the childcare workforce. Longer-term actions should focus on stabilizing the sector with creative investments to increase supply in low-income neighborhoods and cap costs for the most disadvantaged families.
Carsey School of Public Policy
National Issue Brief No. 159
Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire
Koltai, Jonathan; Carson, Jessica A.; Parker, Tyrus; and Glauber, Rebecca, "Childcare Remains Out of Reach for Millions in 2021, Leading to Disproportionate Job Losses for Black, Hispanic, and Low-Income Families" (2021). The Carsey School of Public Policy at the Scholars' Repository. 443.
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