Recently CNN announced that the cost of raising kids has increased 40% in the last ten years. But if you look closely, the increase is largely because the cost of child care has gone up. This week’s Economist shows that on average, childcare is consuming 68% of the second parent’s income.
As a kid who was put into daycare in the early 70s, I have a clear view of why the cost of child care has gone up: It totally sucked when it started.
My mom was one of the first women to go to work during the reign of feminism. The photo here is what she looked like at home. But this is what she looked like at the Fortune 100 company that offered her a job: she had to bring a note to work saying that her husband gave her permission to take a full-time job.
While my mom was working as a COBOL programmer (she hit paydirt with Y2K drama , but that came later) my younger brother and I were at a daycare center that, in hindsight, specialized in children whose mother had died and whose father did not remarry fast enough to get someone to take care of them.
I am not going to delve into how bad the care was, both emotionally and physically, but my brother and I can’t even talk about the experience without feeling physical effects, like back pain or neck pain.
So it’s no surprise to me that child care costs have increased. We ask more of child care facilities today, and, of course, there are more regulations. We know that for kids from birth to three, it’s very clear that there should be a single caregiver so if you can’t do that, buying one, in your home, is expensive.
I think the cost is going to go through the roof, though, when people stop using school as child care. Ten years from now, when homeschooling is ubiquitous, that 40% increase in child care costs will seem like a bargain.