Child Care Costs Exceed 10 Percent of Family Income for One in Four Families

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Summary

Access to quality, affordable child care is critical for American working families, and it is a major focus of efforts to bring about more family-friendly workplaces. In this brief, we analyze families’ child care expenses and identify, among families with young children (under age 6) who pay for child care, the share that are “cost burdened,” defined here as spending more than 10 percent of their gross income on child care. Using data from the 2012–2016 Current Population Survey, we present our findings by number of children; age of youngest child; parental characteristics; family income measures; and U.S. region, metropolitan status, and state. Unless otherwise noted, families include only those with children under age 6 who had any child care costs in the previous year.