Child Care Workers aren’t Paid Enough to Make Ends Meet

November 16, 2015 - 12:00pm

Child care workers play an important role in the U.S. economy by allowing parents of young children to pursue employment outside the home and providing children a stimulating and nurturing environment in which to learn and grow.

In recent decades families have increasingly had to rely on child care because spending more time at work has become an economic necessity for many. Over the last 35 years, most American workers have endured stagnant wages—a reality that has led many two-parent households to work significantly longer hours to cover their rising expenses (Mishel et al. 2012).

Despite the crucial nature of their work, child care workers’ job quality does not seem to be valued in today’s economy. They are among the country’s lowest-paid workers, and seldom receive job-based benefits such as health insurance and pensions. As with any other industry or occupation, paying decent wages and providing necessary benefits is essential to attract and retain the best workers.

This paper from the Economic Policy Intitute directly examines child care workers’ job quality, including how much they earn, whether they receive benefits on the job, and whether they and their families are able to make ends meet. To find out the paper's key findings please click here.