Why did childcare become so expensive?
“Investing in children is an infrastructure rather than social security, and it is a smart investment that can recover costs in the form of taxes and social benefits in the future.”Derek ThompsonDiscusses the causes and solutions to soaring American childcare spending.
Why Child Care Is So Expensive-The Atlantic
(PDF file)Paper published in 2013According to the report, spending per capita in the United States doubled between the 1970s and 2000s. However, when limited to spending on child-rearing, the scale is incomparable, and we know that it has increased by 2000% over the past 40 years.
This is mainly due to the fact that many women joined the labor force in the latter half of the 20th century, and that the care of the children came to be done by “work with salary” instead of “home parents”. From the 1970s to the 1980s, the acceleration of childcare spending was at its maximum during the period in which the labor participation rate of women increased most rapidly.
On the other hand, one of the reasons is that childcare spending is becoming more expensive than other consumer goods and services. The US Census Bureau revealed that childcare spending increased by 40% during the period between 1990 and 2011 when the rate of increase in salaries for the middle class was stagnant. Childcare spending has increased at twice the rate of overall inflation since the 1990s, and general daycare in California has risen to about half the annual income of a single mother. As of 2019, the average cost of a full-time childcare program is about 16,000 dollars per year (about 1.7 million yen), and it is pointed out that in some states it is higher than the tuition fee of the university It is.
Thompson offers three reasons why childcare spending in the United States is so high.
The first reason is labor costs. Although the median wage of childcare workers is not high, it is necessary to prepare workers in the United States, so unlike industrial products that can use cheap labor by building factories overseas, inflation It will be affected by the cost increase caused by.
Another reason is that the childcare industry is strictly regulated. Surveys have shown that states with strict labor laws have higher use prices for daycare and other facilities, and in Massachusetts where one caregiver is required for three infants, children in nurseries It has been found that the cost of depositing can reach 1.7 million yen per year. In contrast, Mississippi State, which requires one caregiver for five infants, costs less than $ 5,000. Caregivers' salaries are low and turnover rates are high, and companies must always spend on worker training. In addition, child-rearing facilities must pay attorneys 'fees to deal with lawsuits from parents who take care of their children and insurance costs to compensate workers' damage, which contributes to the cost of childcare services. It seems to have become.
The third reason is real estate issues. Expensive childcare facilities are located near commercial and high-end residential areas, and land and real estate costs are very high. In addition, the law requires that child-rearing facilities are large enough to allow children to play, so the size of the facilities cannot be reduced just because they are difficult to operate.
by Gautam Arora
Against this background, some private companies such as Google have started measures to provide daycare centers for employees. It can also be said to be a nursery school AirbnbWonderschoolThe service is also born. On the other hand, there is still no national solution. Scientific research to date has shown that the first five years of childhood are very important in the development of logic and language skills.(PDF file)3-5 times more budgetSome countries are spending money.
American children can receive public subsidies from admission to kindergarten to graduation from state universities and community colleges, but they can receive public assistance from birth until their fifth birthday. can not. Young parents are not well-established and are forced to bear a big burden of raising their children when they need the most money.
The 2015 Council of Economic Advisors shows that every dollar spent on early childhood education (about 110 yen) has a social benefit of 8.6 dollars (about 930 yen). Historically investing in the health and education of low-income children(PDF file)Have the greatest valueIs shown. However, there are criticisms of the government's intervention in childcare. One reason for this is that the government's intervention weakens the bond between the child and the parent. On the other hand, there is a shortage of caregivers needed to care for the child, and a high-quality system is being developed. Some critics say that it takes years to make. In fact, in Quebec, Canada, which tried to increase access to cheap childcare, children who grew up through the program “satisfied health and life satisfaction through self-reporting” Has been significantly reduced. "
Still, Thompson says that the country's intervention in childcare is important. Expenditure on childcare is closer to infrastructure than social security, and it is a wise investment that can recover costs in the form of taxes and social benefits. Thompson argued that in order to be successful in the future in America, where parents are in financial difficulties, they must invest in children.