Child care cost rising at nearly twice the pace of inflation: Research

Child care costs in the U.S. have been rising over the last few decades at nearly twice the rate of inflation, according to a new report by audit firm KPMG. 

KPMG’s report, which was published on Tuesday, showed that child care costs went up by 263 percent between 1990 and April of this year. During the same time period, the consumer price index, a parameter utilized for measuring inflation, went up by 133 percent.

“The childcare crisis, which was simmering prior to the pandemic, has come to a boil,” the researchers said in the report. 

“It really gets to the issue that parents are really stuck in right now — the largest generation, I might argue, of 30-somethings we’ve ever seen,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at KPMG, said in an interview with Marketplace. 

“We’ve got 12,000 millennials turning 35 every day. And they’re in the thick of this, trying to pay for child care costs, which are — affordability, the government has said you should pay maybe 7% of your income for child care costs,” Swonk added. 

Women who have younger kids also have a lower labor force participation rate when compared to others, according to KPMG’s research. Mothers with children who are younger than 6 had a labor participation rate of 69 percent last year, compared to 95 percent of similar fathers.

Women with kids between 6 and 17 had a labor participation rate of 78 percent, while with men it was 92 percent. 

The Consumer Price Index published in February showed child care costs increased by 3 percent between December 2022 and December of last year. Preschool and daycare costs went up by 4.5 percent during the same period.

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