The Economic Role of Paid Child Care in the U.S.

Feb 10, 2022
  • Description

One of the most fundamental roles played by child care is enabling parents to participate in the labor force. Most parents with young children are in the workforce. Among U.S. families with a child under age 5, 91% have a working parent. For married couple families, 98% have at least one working parent and 60% have both parents in the workforce. For families maintained by only one parent, 79% of mothers and 88% of fathers who head the household are employed. To support employment, parents choose from a broad range of child care options, either paid or unpaid. This report focuses on the role played by paid child care services. Paid care provides parents with a market-based alternative to in-home parental care and other forms of non-paid care.