Parents Quit Jobs, Build Debt to Pay for Child Care

Nursery children playing with teacher in the classroom.
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Families across the U.S. are spending $8,355 annually on child care — affecting career opportunities and household income, reports CNBC.

See: Child Tax Benefits Will Start Hitting Accounts July 15
Find: Universal Childcare Would Boost Women’s Earnings by $130 Billion

A May survey conducted by YouGov found that 45% of parents who plan to pay for child care over the summer will build credit card debt because of the cost, adding up to an average of $834 per child. During the school year, the survey reported an average cost of a little over $750 a month per child, notes CNBC. The survey used a sample size of 3,499 adults, including 718 parents with children under age 18.

According to Child Care Aware, parents spent an average of $9,200 to $9,600 per child on child care in 2019, representing more than 10% of household income for a married couple and 34% for single parents, notes CNBC.  The survey also acknowledged that child care varies based on location, the kind of care and the number of children in the household.

“Monthly child care costs can feel like an extra mortgage payment, especially if you live in an expensive area or have more than one kid,” says Ted Rossman, Bankrate’s senior industry analyst, as reported by CNBC.

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“Sometimes it makes more sense for a parent to leave the workforce rather than working and putting so much of their salary toward child care,” he added.

See: Child Care Stimulus Money to Help Jobs Numbers, Biden Says
Find: This is How Much Less Mothers, Including Frontline Workers, Are Paid Than Fathers

Child care costs are also making an impact on careers and work schedules. CNBC noted that according to the survey, 45% of parents with children under the age of 18 stated that they or their partner changed their work schedule to care for their kids during the pandemic and 17% said they or their partner quit their job to care for the kids.

While child care costs are a heavy burden on families across the U.S., the IRS will begin distributing the $3,000 child tax credit as advanced payments starting July 15. CNBC reported that 39 million households will receive these monthly payments between July and December.

Families can receive up to $300 per child under the age of 6 and $250 per child between the ages of 6 and 17. These amounts are for individuals earning less than $75,000 a year or $150,000 for couples filing jointly. For those earning more, these amounts will be phased out.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.

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