New Report Finds Childcare Overtakes Housing as Biggest Household Expense
The Cost of Being Californian, 2021 reveals that over one in three Californian households struggle to meet their basic needs, and that precarity rates are highest for communities of color.
“Our research shows what most Californians already know – people are struggling to stay afloat financially, and the situation is far worse for Black and Latinx families,” said President of Insight Center and paper co-author Anne Price. “To curb gender and racial inequality exacerbated by the pandemic, our state and federal leaders must address the soaring costs of childcare and housing.”
Among the report’s other key findings:
- Childcare is triple the cost in the Bay area. The hourly wage needed for a single parent with two kids to meet their basic household expenses ranges from $27 in small counties in the northeastern part of the state to around $74 an hour in the Bay Area.
- Black, Native, and Latinx households with no children are more likely to be struggling financially than white households with two children.
- Having even one child nearly doubles the likelihood that a married couple will teeter on the edge of financial precarity.
- Childcare is the highest household expense in all California counties, except for five Bay Area counties that have the state’s highest housing costs.
- Black women householders with a bachelor’s degree face economic precarity at twice the rate of comparable white men.
California is already taking important steps to mitigate these disparities, including the recently-passed Golden State Stimulus and criminal fee repeal. The Insight Center supports these measures as well as federal action that paves the path for structural change, including making the American Rescue Plan’s Child Tax Credit expansion permanent and prioritizing child care in the upcoming infrastructure bill.