About five million U.S. households had a child under age 12 who was unable to attend childcare as a result of it being closed, unavailable, unaffordable, or because parents were concerned about the child’s safety during the pandemic, according to a new study released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. This lack of access to childcare led to a loss of employment for one in five of those households.
Black and low-income households with a child under age 12 were more likely to report inadequate access to childcare — one third versus one quarter among all households. Looking across racial-ethnic groups, non-Hispanic Black respondents were most likely to report inadequate access to childcare. And the study shows that the childcare crisis has persisted through 2021.
“Any illusion that the childcare crises of early 2020 were transitory and now resolved is incorrect,” said the researchers. “Our study illustrates multiple and overlapping forms of disadvantage. Not only are people of color and those with lower income more likely to face inadequate access to childcare, they are also more likely to lose work because of these challenges. These job losses amplify economic precarity and efforts to stem childcare losses should be a top priority in the immediate term.”