MADISON (WKOW) — The cost of raising children is rising faster than ever, and experts say it has a lot to do with inflation and wage pressure.
Mount Horeb mother-of-two Cassandra Griffin is raising two children with her husband, and both she and her spouse work full-time. However, even with two incomes inflation is taking its toll.
“I’m really not sure how it’s supposed to work for parents anymore, honestly,” Griffin said.
Griffin’s three-month-old child was a surprise, and while raising one child was expensive, she says now, the game has changed.
“We quickly found out that you’re looking at $1,200 a month to pay for full-time daycare,” Griffin said. “The cost of everything else is weighing down on us, too. The cost of groceries, like you said, we’ve seen like a $50 rise per week for our groceries.”
Griffin’s struggle is just one part of a much larger issue.
According to a recent study from the Brookings Institution, it now takes more than $310,000 for middle-income families to raise a child through the age of 17. That equates to more than $18,000 a year.
Experts like UW-Madison Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work Laura Dresser say the issue has a lot to do with how wages are moving across the entire economy.
“The labor share of total costs is very high in childcare,” Dresser said.
That means a lot of a typical childcare center’s expenses go to paying staff. And Dresser says when inflation is high and other jobs are paying higher wages, childcare providers are expected to do the same to keep their staff.
“So, to stay in that market to catch up with or to keep workers working in childcare, there’s a lot of wage pressure,” Dresser said. “And that wage pressure really changes costs, because labor is what childcare centers do.”
The costs then trickle down to families like the Griffins. Cassandra says she and her husband are now talking about leaving their careers or their home.
“At the end of the day, building our careers up a little bit more is what’s the most important thing for our family long term,” Griffin said. “It’s just kind of a sacrifice that we might have to make here.”