The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a report on the low wages paid to child care workers within the United States.
Over the past several decades, child care has become increasingly important to families throughout the country, as the rising cost of many necessities has required guardians of children to spend more time at work. Despite the critical role child care now plays for many, child care workers remain, as the EPI states, "among the country’s lowest-paid workers, and seldom receive job-based benefits such as health insurance and pensions." Within the document, the EPI notes that the median hourly wage of child care workers is $10.31, a staggering 39.3 percent below the $17.00 median hourly wage of those in other occupations. Additionally, only 15 percent of those who work in child care receive health insurance from their employer, compared to the 49.9 percent of workers in other occupations who do.
These disadvantages mean that child care workers ultimately struggle more than those in other jobs to make ends meet; the EPI states that, "In the majority of metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas across the country, more than 90 percent of child care workers (excluding preschool workers) cannot meet their local one-person budget." This also means that, ironically, many child care workers cannot afford child care for their own children. As the EPI report illustrates, "In 32 states and the District of Columbia, center-based infant care costs are equal to more than one-third of typical preschool worker earnings. In other words, a preschool worker’s entire pay in those states from January through at least April would be consumed by infant care costs."
These hardships are suffered predominantly by young women; 95.6 percent of child care workers are women, 15.4 percent of which are between the ages of 18 and 22, while 55.7 percent fall between the ages of 23 and 49. The majority of child care workers are born within the United States (81.2 percent), but are slightly more likely to be foreign-born when compared to workers within other sectors.
This EPI report illuminates the undeniably low wages made by child care workers and notes that, "It is abundantly clear that the unaffordability of child care is not driven by excessively lavish pay in the sector." Furthermore, it is impossible to improve the quality of child care by decreasing its cost and thus paying its workers smaller and smaller sums; increasing the number of children each worker is responsible for would increase productivity, but decrease quality of care. It is of little benefit to anyone to pile more and more work for lesser pay upon child care workers.
Publication/Post - Lenscratch States Project
Watch Me Grow
January 10, 2016 - Kevin Miyazaki of Collect.Give invited us to be part of the Lenscratch States Project highlighting photographers from Wisconsin. Kevin visited the studio and took a portrait of us in front of the ancestor wall.