Working parents in our region have reason to fret. According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the annual cost of infant care in New York is $14,144, or $1,179 per month, an amount the EPI projects could account for more than 21 percent of a typical New York family’s income. And for a family with more than one child, the cost is even higher, as the report elaborates that covering basic needs for an infant and 4-year-old concurrently can run a household $25,000-plus yearly. Or, as the data observes in starkest terms, 72 percent more than an average New Yorker’s rent.
Given that Westchester was recently named the third most expensive place to raise a family in general, even having one parent stay at home to avoid daycare expenses won’t provide total relief for moms and dads in our county. But for low-paid residents statewide, child care is nearly out of reach. As the EPI details, a minimum-wage worker in New York would need to log 39 weeks of full-time income in order to afford tending to one infant. The Institute recommends policy that caps child care costs at 10 percent of a family’s income, although if other local governments followed NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s lead, that could be a good start.