FAMILY BUDGETS & CHILDCARE CHOICES – PART 1
Domestic economics dictates the quality of childcare available to most parents on a national level. Middle-income and low-income American families factor their childcare needs based primarily based on the $. The low-grade childcare problem that exists now in New York City is a problem for America’s working families. By extension it is a problem for our society.
Take a typical middle-income working family: Family A (mom, dad, three children).
IN per week
Family A has a net income of $2,200.00 per week. Both parents work 10 hours a day 5 days per week.
Dad earns $1,300.00 as a corporate IT technician.
Mom earns $900.00 as a personal assistant.
OUT per week
Rent/mortgage = $300
Family food/supplies = $600
Household bills = $300
Gas/car insurance = $170
Family medical insurance = $150
Two older children require an average of $40 a week in clothing, books and activities.
Family A’s infant requires $60 per week in clothing, diapers, milk powder and food.
Personal savings, recreation and vacation expenses account for $80 a week.
The weekly total expenditure for Family A is: $1,700.00.
The family budget for childcare is $500. What childcare choices, does this family have?
1. A professional US Nanny working a 50-hour a week, assisted by a full-time housekeeper could cost this family as much as $1,500.00 a week plus accountant’s fees (calculating tax).
2. An unqualified, self-employed US Nanny working a 50-hour week, along with a part-time cleaner could cost approximately $900 a week.
3. An unqualified, illegal immigrant who will care, cook and clean for 50 hours a week could cost approximately $500 a week. Let’s break down choice number 3 to see what it would entail:
$10 per hour x 50-hour week (8am-8pm)
3 children (ages 7, 3, 8 months) to cook clean and care for.
Duties: Childcare, household cleaning, grocery shopping and laundry.
Basic economics dictates the type of childcare available to Family A. In other words when ordinary working families have to strictly budget their childcare needs, a Nanny’s hourly rate will always come before aptitude, immigration status and training. This isn’t due to parental irresponsibility, exploitation or greed. It is the consequence of domestic economics. Family A’s mom cannot stay home to care for the children because the family is dependent upon her wages/job for health insurance, to pay bills and to keep the children adequately clothed.
Next blog: what childcare choice does Family A make and how could this affect their children?