Super Cities №265—The Hidden Cost of Parenthood

Brendan Hart

Around 60% of families with children have both parents working in the United States.

When both parents are working, someone needs to look after their children, especially the ones too young for school.

Who does this?

Before I had a kid, I often heard that raising children “takes a village.” Everyone helps out — parents, grandparents, family members, neighbors, friends — to make sure the little ones are loved, cared for, and supervised.

This is true to varying degrees, but economically, the reality is much harsher.

Parents have to pay a lot of money outside of the village for childcare.

Source: OECD

Anecdotally, this is a giant problem for my friends and colleagues. For many of us, regardless of location or career, the cost of childcare is often prohibitively expensive. I have one guy friend — an architect with an Ivy League degree — who is thinking about becoming a stay-at-home dad because the all-in cost of childcare is so high.

The nature of childcare spending is unique too. Parents are willing to spend whatever it takes to make sure their children are safe. We want our kiddos to be in supportive, nurturing environments. We pay a premium for it.

But moms and dads also want to, and need to, work. One desire should not offset the other.

I don’t know how this ends, but the curve cannot continue to go up and to the right.

If it does, many men will have second careers as stay-at-home dads.

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