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Childcare workers make 40% less than the nationwide median wage

November 10, 2015
Economics and FinanceOutcomesWorkforce
Michelle Chen
The Nation

Earning hourly wages of about $10.30, many childcare workers can't afford the service they provide—and now they're joining the movement for a living wage.

 In a sector where the cost of care is rising yet wages have stagnated for over a decade, she knows that, after more than 15 years in the field and still earning just $8.50 an hour, neither her family nor those of her students are getting what they deserve.

“We’re struggling,” O’Neal says. “We’re taking care of other kids all day long, and then when we come home we can’t even take care of our kids.” Sometimes, when parents can’t afford the fee, she adds, the center will take their children anyway, just so they can work. “It’s hard on the teachers, and it’s hard on the parents,” she says. . .

 Earning typical hourly wages of about $10.30, childcare workers earn some 40 percent less than the nationwide median wage, well below typical wage range in comparable professions, according to the left-leaning think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI). About one in seven childcare workers lives below the official poverty line. In many regions, preschool and childcare workers earn a fraction of what’s required for a minimally decent standard of living. In Atlanta, childcare workers like O’Neal may earn just short of what is needed to support a local family of one.