In 1969, the year WPC was founded, a gallon of gas cost 32¢ cents, a loaf of bread cost 23¢, a gallon of milk cost $1.10 and you could buy a brand new car for $2,000.
The cost of child care was also much less. During the 60’s most women with young children did not work outside the home. Between 1968 and 1995, the labor force participation rate of married mothers grew from 27 to 65 percent. Labor force participation among single mothers grew from 45 percent in 1968 to 77 percent by 1998. The U.S. government did not start regularly collecting information about the cost of child care until the early 1980’s.
We can extrapolate the cost of care using data from the USDA’s “The total cost to parents for raising a child from birth to age 17”. This data does not include public investment in children like public schools or college tuition.
For a child born in 1960, only 2% of parent’s spending went to childcare and education, about $3,971 total until age 17 or $233/per year. For a child born in 2013, 18% of the parents’ costs go to childcare and education $44,161 total or $2,597 per year. We know that that numbers get even more difficult; between 2010 and 2017 the average cost of care grew 35% for preschool children.
Despite rising costs, there is some good news for families in Vermont. The legislature recently invested in and made changes to the Child Care Financial Assistance Program. The approximately $5.8 million dollars will increase the benefit amount families receive, update the income eligibility criteria and create a more gradual decrease in benefits as families earn more money. This investment will make childcare more accessible to families by making it more affordable.
Sources : Kurtzleben, Vox.com 10.15.14 https://www.vox.com/2014/8/18/6030435/the-245000-price-tag-for-raising-an-american-child-in-5-charts
Council on economic advisors 2.25.2019 Washington DC
Photo credit: http://ardmoreprespreschool.org/