Unaffordable Child Care Hinders Low Income Parents

On a daily basis, we see moms and dads who are struggling financially, and do not have a job. I used to think the solution was simply "get a job" and things would get better. However, in speaking to a lot of the families we've helped, I've learned the issue is much more complicated than that. 

In order for them to get a job, they must first put their children in child care. If you're a single parent making minimum wage, working full-time, and paying for child care for two or three kids, you're entire paycheck is going directly to pay for someone to watch your children.

Don't believe me? Let's do the math. Minimum wage is $7.25/hour. If you multiply that by 40 hours a week, and 52 weeks a year, you're income before taxes is $15,080. Remember, that is before taxes, your take-home pay will be less. How much less? Single minimum wage workers are taxed roughly 15%, leaving them with $12,818 a year after taxes. 

Now, let's look at the average cost of child care in Oklahoma. According to The Huffington Post, which recently looked into this very issue, the average cost of day care for two children in Oklahoma is between $10,000 and $15,000. So even if you are paying on the low end of that scale, you are left with $2,818 a year to live on. Could you do it?

As difficult as some families may have it here, according to The Huffington Post article, circumstances are even worse in many other states. In at least 28 states, child care costs exceed a minimum wage salary, and for a lot of families child care is the single biggest monthly expense, surpassing car payments and even rent. 

The information provided by the newspaper is certainly eye-opening, and gives readers a better understanding of both poverty and the expense of child care.