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status of child care in New York
Diana Limongi's picture

I was so blown away by the thorough report by the great researchers of Cornell and Buffalo universities (Cornell University’s ILR Buffalo Co-Lab to be exact) titled The Status of Child Care in New York Report, 2024 which takes a deep dive into the state of child care for parents across New York. 

Here are 10 report highlights that are worth sharing:

1. Child Care is the Biggest Reason People are Turning Down Employment in New York State 

When participants were asked why they turned down paid work outside the home due to child care, more than half (53%) said it was because of the cost. Almost a quarter (23%) said that their biggest obstacle to work was the lack of accessible child care in their communities.



2. There is overwhelming support for universal child care in New York State

Almost 80 percent (79%) support public funding for child care, making it a free public service, the same as K-12 public schools.



3. Child care workers remain underpaid and undervalued. 

Child care workers have a median wage of just $32,900 compared to the average that is $54,300 – over a $20,000 difference! 

Child care workers rank among the ten least paid professions in New York State!


4. Child care workers are making poverty wages.

The report highlights that child care workers in NYS are among the working poor, with many of them qualifying for social service benefits. Specifically, 7,000 workers (12 percent of the workforce) earn low wages that qualify for benefits like SNAP (what we often and commonly call "food stamps.")


“The child care profession loses value as a source of work when the industry pays poverty wages.”

5. The underpayment of child care workers is a gender, immigrant and economic issue. 

In New York State, 94 percent of the child care workforce is made up of women, more than 40 percent are women of color. Those women earn 39 percent less than the median income of New York State. The result? 12 percent of the people that take care of our kids are living below the poverty line. 


6. There are not enough child care slots to meet the needs of parents.

There are simply not enough child care slots to meet the needs! The data they collected shows that there are only 1.9 slots of licensed child care for every 10 children ages 1 and younger. OMG!


7. The number of child care slots with licensed care providers has decreased in upstate New York. 

22 upstate counties – including Erie, home to New York’s second-largest City in Buffalo – saw the number of available slots in licensed providers decrease over the past two-plus years. That means-- less parents upstate have access to the child care they need to work! 

8. Investing in child care in NY makes economic sense: the return to Investment on child care is huge~

No surprise here! So many reports have shown that when we invest in child care, it's an economic win and good for our communities! “Investing $1 billion in the industry [child care] is projected to generate more than 20,000 jobs and almost $1.9 billion in total economic activity.” 

That’s a win for everyone! 

9. When Parents Receive Child Care Support, They are able to Enter or Stay in the Workforce 

While the need for child care support in New York State is great, only 13 percent of participants in this research said they had received assistance.

But here is the interesting piece: for those who were lucky enough to receive child care assistance, it was overwhelmingly positive: 90% of those parents who received assistance (via subsidies) were either able to enter the paid workforce, remain in the paid workforce, or some combination of these circumstances. This shows how life changing getting child care assistance can be! 


10. The support for child care in New York is bipartisan. 

While New York is usually considered a "blue" and "progressive" state, participants in this survey were across the political spectrum, most considered themselves "middle of the road" or "moderate." BUT- most overwhelmingly support investments in child care, regardless of how they define their political views. 

But the biggest takeaway of the report is that: “Investing in Child Care is Popular, Good Politics, and Good for the Economy!” We couldn't have said it better ourselves!


If you're a New York parent who wants to learn more about our child care advocacy efforts in NY, join our Parent Power Hour in March! 

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