5 Surprising Facts Related to Childcare in America

Are you a parent who makes use of professional childcare? If not, you likely know other parents who do. Professional childcare is so ubiquitous that our culture considers it a normal part of life. That can be both good and bad. It is good in the sense that parents have childcare options. It is bad in the sense that we sometimes take it for granted.

Digging into the details of childcare in America can easily cause one to wonder how much parents really know about the topic. To demonstrate the point, there are five surprising facts related to childcare listed below. Each one is accompanied by a few short comments. The facts are from the Zero to Three child advocacy charity.

Test yourself with these facts. How many of them do you know – if not in actual numbers, at least with a basic understanding?

1. Childcare More Expensive Than Tuition

You may be familiar with this fact simply because your bank account reflects it. According to Zero to Three, daycare at center-based facilities in 28 states and the District of Columbia is more expensive than in-state tuition at a public university. If that sounds like a mouthful, we can make it simpler.

Parents spend more money on center-based daycare (as opposed to in-home daycare) than they do to send their children to a community college or public university. No wonder so many are clamoring for more affordable daycare options.

2. Most Mothers with Infants Are Working

Fact #2 says that 62% of all mothers with infants are currently working. If you are one of them, this little tidbit probably doesn’t surprise you. It is just a fact of life. But what does it tell us? It tells us that the majority of infants in this country are in need of some kind of daycare while mom is working.

3. Millions Are in Non-Parental Care

Zero to Three says that there are currently 6 million children under the age of three who regularly receive non-parental care. They are in center-based daycare facilities or being cared for by in-home operators. That is a lot of children being cared for by daycare owners, teachers, and support staff.

4. Block Grants Serve Relatively Few Children

Block grants intended to make childcare more affordable actually help fewer than 16% of eligible children. Zero to Three doesn’t explain why this is so, but the likely reason is ignorance. People just don’t know they have access to block grant money.

That being the case, it would be interesting to know how many parents do not take advantage of the federal Child Independent Tax Care Credit when they file their federal tax returns every year. As a tax credit, it takes money off your tax bill. It can even increase the size of your refund.

5. Professional Childcare Benefits Children

This final fact may seem obvious, but there is more to it than simply benefiting children by feeding them, changing them, and keeping them safe. High-quality childcare also benefits kids by improving:

  • early learning
  • cognitive development
  • language skills
  • social and emotional development
  • educational achievement.

Ivy School, a nationwide network of in-home childcare providers, takes advantage of all that childcare has to offer by exposing children to scientifically proven curriculum designed to help them learn while they are being cared for. They are not alone. Daycare providers around the country are helping kids make the most of the time spent in non-parental care through learning opportunities, social interaction, and more.

So how did you do? Hopefully, none of these daycare facts surprised you.