Caregiving Crunch

November 1, 2019 • Volume 29, Issue 39
Should government step in to help?
By Heather Kerrigan


Across the United States, more and more families are struggling to take care of children or elderly relatives — or both. Finding care is both difficult and expensive. In many states, the annual cost of child care exceeds in-state college tuition. The caregiving crunch carries other costs as well, according to experts: Companies lose $28 billion a year due to absenteeism, high turnover or decreased productivity. With caregiving problems growing more acute, lawmakers from both parties are stepping forward with proposals. At least three 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have proposed universal child care or expanded tax credits for parents. Congress is debating bills that would provide funding for long-term care and better support for working families. A few businesses are opening child care centers or helping employees with the cost of care. But they are a minority, and the United States remains an outlier in its approach to caregiving: In Europe, subsidized child care and extensive paid family leave are commonplace.

Teacher Latonya Hazard (Getty Images/The Boston Globe/Craig F. Walker)
Teacher Latonya Hazard works on puzzles with 2-year-olds at a Guild of St. Agnes child care center in Worcester, Mass. Many Americans struggle to afford quality child care, leading some politicians to call for government intervention. (Getty Images/The Boston Globe/Craig F. Walker)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Urban Planning
Jun. 03, 2022  The Future of the City
Jun. 04, 2021  Rebuilding America's Infrastructure
Aug. 21, 2020  Economic Clustering
Nov. 01, 2019  Caregiving Crunch
Jul. 27, 2012  Smart Cities
Apr. 09, 2010  Earthquake Threat
Apr. 2009  Rapid Urbanization
Jun. 23, 2006  Downtown Renaissance Updated
May 28, 2004  Smart Growth
Oct. 03, 1997  Urban Sprawl in the West
Mar. 21, 1997  Civic Renewal
Oct. 13, 1995  Revitalizing the Cities
Jun. 09, 1989  Not in My Back Yard!
Apr. 28, 1989  Do Enterprise Zones Work?
Nov. 22, 1985  Supercities: Problems of Urban Growth
Jul. 23, 1982  Reagan and the Cities
Nov. 18, 1977  Saving America's Cities
Oct. 31, 1975  Neighborhood Control
Nov. 21, 1973  Future of the City
Feb. 07, 1973  Restrictions on Urban Growth
May 20, 1970  Urbanization of the Earth
Nov. 06, 1968  New Towns
Oct. 04, 1967  Private Enterprise in City Rebuilding
Feb. 10, 1965  Megalopolis: Promise and Problems
Mar. 04, 1964  City Beautiful
Aug. 21, 1963  Urban Renewal Under Fire
Jan. 21, 1959  Metropolitan Areas and the Federal Government
Jul. 30, 1958  Persistence of Slums
Dec. 09, 1953  Outspreading Cities
Nov. 22, 1952  Slum Clearance: 1932–1952
Jan. 14, 1937  Zoning of Urban and Rural Areas
Aging Issues
Congress Actions
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Cost of Education and School Funding
Data and Statistics
Elementary and Secondary Education
Employee Benefits
Maternal and Child Health Care
Nursing Homes and Long Term Care Facilities
Regulation and Deregulation
Women in the Workplace
Work and the Family