An individual living in Pueblo would need to earn $14.25 per hour or more to cover child care costs, which exceeds the median wage of many professions, a new analysis describes.
The Colorado Fiscal Institute released a report in late October that examined the cost of child care using Pueblo as a case study. The city has a poverty rate nearly double that of the state.
“Single parents in Pueblo work two hours less and earn less on average than other single parents in Colorado,” CFI wrote. “In 2018, the median income of a single parents [sic] with a child under 6 was about $19,000 in Pueblo compared to $33,000 in the rest of Colorado.”
Researchers found the median wage of food service workers in Pueblo was $9.51 per hour. For home health aides it was $10.78 and for retail employees the wage was $11.33. With the average cost per day of $34 for childcare, CFI calculated that a wage of $14.25 per hour was necessary for workers to both afford childcare and have an effective take-home pay of $10 per hour. (CFI’s analysis used numbers from 2017. Colorado’s minimum wage is now $12.)
Sending children to public school, which researchers equated to free childcare, had an effect of increasing the employment of parents, and correspondingly boosting income. If childcare were free to the approximately 1,400 Pueblo households with single parents and children ages two to five, CFI estimated 200 adults would move out of poverty and personal incomes would grow by $10,000 per person.
“Consequences of high child care prices include lower employment levels for parents, lower incomes and increased dependence on economic support systems. The high cost of child care restrains parents’ abilities to work outside the home,” CFI concluded.