Study: 1 in 4 Parents Report Being Fired Due to Childcare Challenges

From productivity decline to job loss, a new study suggests that the childcare crisis costs Americans over $122 billion a year.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Assistant Editor
Updated February 8, 2023
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Image: shurkin_son | Shutterstock

Post-pandemic lockdown, many good things have happened to make parents’ lives easier, from more flexibility to work from home to better parental leave policies. But for all the wins, one thing has become much more difficult for parents post-pandemic—finding childcare.

Whether there is a physical lack of childcare in neighborhoods that need it or parents have been priced out of the market, costs have risen for not just parents but the US economy as a whole. A new study conducted by ReadyNation shows that the economic cost of childcare has risen from $57 billion pre-pandemic to $122 billion now.

This approximate cost is calculated using a mixture of metrics calculating how much employers, employees and taxpayers lose out on due to the childcare crisis.

Employers lose $23 billion annually

Simply put, employers lose money when their employees can’t perform at their highest potential. An overwhelming 85 percent of primary caregivers said problems with childcare hurt their efforts or time commitment at work. Plus, more than half said they were distracted at work or that they had to miss whole days. These lost hours can attribute to major profit dips.

Families lose $78 billion annually

Between missed days and late showings due to a lack of childcare, parents aren’t just losing out on profits or promotions; they are losing their jobs. According to the survey, 1 in 4 parents said they’ve been fired due to childcare problems and more than a quarter reported being “reprimanded” at work.

Taxpayers lose $21 billion annually

The costs of childcare don’t just directly impact families and their employers but taxpayers as a whole. Because there are fewer parents in the workforce, taxpayers lose $21 billion each year in lower federal and state or local tax revenue.

The cost of childcare isn’t just a financial one but a societal one too. As more parents, especially mothers, are displaced from the workforce, the lack of their unique voices and opinions stifles innovation and new ideas.

If you are struggling with the high costs of raising a child, check out the USDA’s four tips for offsetting costs. You can also browse these solutions for finding affordable care here.

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