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New Report Finds 80% of New York City Families Cannot Afford Child Care

Mother working from home with child

New York (October 2023) – A new report from the Citizens Committee for Children (CCC) finds that the vast majority of New York City families cannot afford any form of child care – from early childhood care for children under 5 years of age to out-of-school care for children ages 6 to 12 years old. The analysis, titled “From Birth to Age 12: The (Un)Affordability of Child Care and Out-of-School Care in New York City,” reveals that more than 80% of families with children under five cannot afford child care in the city, while nearly four out of five families citywide cannot afford out-of-school care for school-aged children. “Access to high quality, affordable child and out-of-school care is necessary to support child development, school readiness, and the success of children and plays a vital role in ensuring that caregivers, especially mothers, have the ability to work outside the home,” said Jennifer March, executive director at CCC. “Alarmingly, our research shows that the vast majority of low-to middle-income households in New York City cannot afford any form of care. This isn’t just a family issue – this is a key part of a larger socio-economic crisis. When New York families, many of whom are headed by single women of color, can’t afford care, the ramifications are felt across communities and throughout our economy. These findings underscore the urgent need to develop public policies and allocate funding to provide affordable, equitable and high-quality child and out of school care for all families who need it.” The report analyzes the affordability of care costs across a continuum of age cohorts from birth to age 12 – including full-day care for infants and toddlers (ages 0 to 2), full-day care for preschool-age children (ages 3 to 5), and out-of-school care for school-age children (ages 6 to 12) during the week before or after school hours, or on school holidays and breaks. Among the key findings, CCC’s report finds that:


  • • More than 80% of families with children under five cannot afford child care in New York City;
  • • Nearly four out of five families citywide cannot afford out-of-school care for children ages 6 to 12;
  • • Families in the Bronx and Brooklyn experience the highest child care cost burden. In these communities, the cost of child care or out-of-school care would consume up to more than half (63%) of their annual income;
  • • A family with one infant and one preschool age child would spend nearly half (43%) of their income on center-based care and 36% of their income on home-based care.

“Our analysis shows that families with children are facing an impossible situation,” said Rimsha Khan, research associate at CCC and author of the report. “The financial burden of covering the cost of care is setting New Yorkers back, where parents are forced to spend a huge share of their household income on care while trying to manage rising rent expenses and stagnant wages.” Based on these findings, CCC is calling on government leaders to take action to secure sustainable funding, through a combination of City, State and Federal resources, protect service capacity and create a strong foundation upon which a path to universal care access can be paved. CCC is recommending that NYC elected officials:


  • • Reject calls to cut 15% of city funds as this would trigger an immense loss of capacity in services children, youth and families desperately need to access and cannot afford.
  • • Invest in salary parity in early childhood education (ECE) and rate reform in youth services to bring equity to systems, reduce staff turnover, and better support year round services.
  • • Sustain commitments and continue to make progress on catching up on extensive payment delays in both systems.
  • • Facilitate access to services by allowing on-site enrollment in ECE and youth service settings and supporting a robust locally-rooted caregiver engagement and child/youth enrollment campaign.

“The data uncovered by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York demonstrates the urgent need to invest in high-quality, early childhood education that meets the needs of New York’s families.”  said Tara N. Gardner, executive director of the Day Care Council of New York. “New York City’s early childhood provider organizations are working valiantly to ensure that families have the care they need and children get the early education they deserve. As CCC’s report shows, government must do more to provide support for New York’s families and the early childhood workforce which supports them.” This latest report follows an analysis released by CCC in June on the unaffordable cost of child care for families with children under five; it also comes after the release of a  year-long research project in May undertaken by CCC to elevate the voices of parents and providers and inform government decision-making on how to address under-enrollment across the city’s early care and education system, in which the high cost of care was a key barrier, including for families who may be enrolled in a school-day, school-year program, but need to pay out of pocket for out-of- school care.



About CCC
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) educates and mobilizes New Yorkers to make the city a better place for children. Its advocacy combines public policy research and data analysis with civic engagement. For more information about CCC, visit www.cccnewyork.org

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