A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has found that in most parts of the U.S. families spend even more on childcare than they do on rent. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, child care should account for no more than 10 percent of a family’s budget to be considered affordable, but for many families, especially those below the poverty line, the cost can be upwards of 30 percent. The cost of care varies wildly by location, but the trend is nationwide. Bloomberg reports that the cost of childcare and nursery school have risen 168 percent over the past quarter century, and a survey of 700 parents nationwide by Care.com estimates the average cost of childcare at $18,000 a year. “How are young parents supposed to be able to afford the equivalent of a college tuition?” asked Elise Gould, a senior economist at EPI. For some mothers the answer has been to actually leave the workforce: a 2010 paper by the U.S. Census Bureau found that “for mothers who have more than one child under 5, the cost of daycare might be higher than she could support unless she has fairly high earnings.”
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