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Measuring the Burden of Child Care Costs and its Impact on Health

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The high cost of child care has forced many American families to make challenging choices between paying for their children’s care or other necessities such as food, safe housing and health care. On average, families with two children pay a quarter of their income toward child care, driving some out of the workforce altogether.

To help communities better understand the burden, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) released a new measure, Child Care Cost Burden. It captures child care costs for a household with two children as a percent of median household income in the county.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ benchmark suggests child care is unaffordable if it exceeds 7% of a household’s income. CHR&R data show that child care costs are higher than the federal threshold in every county across the country with available data.

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