This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

September 28, 2011

High Costs of Childcare Worldwide

This week, we discuss another complication for parents and employers alike: across the globe, the costs of childcare are rising.

According to a study from 24/7 Wall Street, between 1960 and 2010, the costs for childcare and education increased from 2 percent of parents’ expenditures to 17 percent, while the cost for healthcare (only) doubled from four to eight percent. Moreover, In a study titled “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2011 Update”, recently released by the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) about what parents pay for full-time childcare in the United States.

Overall in the US, between 2009 and 2010, the cost of childcare increased between 1.9 and percent for childcare centers and 1.8 and 2.6 percent for family childcare homes. Compared to family income and household expenses, childcare costs are high. In most states, the average annual cost of center-based infant care exceeded 10 percent of the country’s median income for a two-parent family. In fact, in 36 states, the average annual cost for center-based infant care was higher than a year’s tuition---with related fees---at a four-year public college!

Internationally, the costs are rising as well. According to another recently released study from the Philips Center for Health and Well-being, a top factor that adversely affects health and well-being among mothers and fathers in Brazil is “stress”. For the 54 percent of mothers and 98 percent of fathers employed full-time, “this issue of childcare is an important area to address in ensuring the health of Brazilian families”. Meanwhile, 46 percent of mothers changed their working hours to accommodate less expensive childcare options.

Finally, research from the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy concluded, “the lack of affordable quality childcare is adversely affecting retention in the minerals sector, leading to a decline in the retention rate of critically experienced professionals”; they urged addressing the “dire shortage of childcare centres in rural and regional Australia”.

For employers worldwide, the message is clear. If you want to keep your top talent, increasing women, begin now to enhance your childcare options for working parents. Or, be prepared to live with the consequences.

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