Over a million more moms would work full time if the US had better childcare support, a new study shows

  • In Science
  • 2022-06-22 18:30:22Z
  • By Business Insider
young parent with kids
young parent with kids  
  • Just under half of moms of young children currently work full time, and nearly 30% are not employed.

  • Childcare policies under the Build Back Better plan could lead to full-time jobs for over a million moms.

  • Although the move could help address the labor shortage, it stands little chance of becoming law.

Mothers of young children often face a difficult choice in those early years, one that often ends with them sacrificing their careers to look after their kids.

In the US, that means nearly 30% of moms are not employed, and another 22% are working part time, leaving just under half of moms employed full time.

The impact is, of course, more acute for lower-income families, who may not be able to afford the rising cost of private childcare.

That could change under the early care and education provisions of President Joe Biden's all-but-dead Build Back Better plan, a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows.

Under Biden's plan, most families would see their childcare costs capped at 7% of their income, compared with what they're spending now, which is nearly 18% of their income. The plan also requires anyone receiving benefits to actively seek a job or an education.

If the subsidies and work requirements of the plan were implemented, the researchers estimate the percentage of moms working full time would climb by nearly 10 percentage points.

That's over a million women moving from either non-employment or part-time work into full-time jobs.

There's no question that the US is facing a childcare crisis, as well as a labor shortage, and the analysis shows the Build Back Better plan would help with both.

Regardless of this evidence, Biden's plan has almost zero chance of passing the Senate, where 50 Republicans and Joe Manchin have made clear their opposition to using the bill for spending on children and families.

The NBER's numbers are consistent with - and more conservative than - earlier findings from The Century Foundation that estimate if mothers of children under 6 were employed at the same rate as those with children between 6 and 12, there would be about 1.6 million more women employed.

That analysis found the Biden plan would bring 1.1 million parents into the labor force, and have 2 million others increase their working hours, for a net economic boost of $48 billion per year.


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