“Basically what this tells you is hardship is widespread in New York City, but deeply felt by the people that can least afford to lose income,” says Jennifer March, CCC’s executive director.

Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

A scene from the first day of school in NYC.

Adults with kids at home are more likely than other New Yorkers to have lost income since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis of census data by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC). And among those families, the hardest hit are low-wage working families and Latinos. 

Access to childcare has long been an issue, but the pandemic has highlighted just how essential it is for many parents to keep their jobs. In fact, CCC’s findings show 13 percent of adults living with children in New York City reported not working during the health crisis because they had to be home with their children, who weren’t in school or daycare anymore.

Read our coverage of New York City’s Coronavirus crisis.

CCC’s analysis is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which has been surveying households to track the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and the first batch of publicly-available data covers April 23 to July 21. 

The data revealed that New York City families who make less than $25,000 a year were most likely to have lost income since March 13.

“Basically what this tells you is hardship is widespread in New York City, but deeply felt by the people that can least afford to lose income,” says Jennifer March, CCC’s executive director.

Working mothers have also borne the brunt of the childcare void: 27 percent of women between 25 and 44 years old said they weren’t working because they had to stay home for the kids, while 11 percent of men of the same age cited caring for children as their main reason for being out of work.

As childcare centers reopen, there will still be New Yorkers who do not have the income to cover the costs, especially following the economic strain of recent months, March says.

“It’s like the perfect storm for low-income families,” she tells City Limits.

Across New York state, 23 percent of adults with children at home said they had slight or no confidence in paying rent or their mortgage on time when surveyed in early fall, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s COVID-19 report about families nationwide, released Monday.

The steep cost of childcare is already out of reach for many families. Another report CCC released earlier this month notes that the typical child care center is unaffordable for 93 percent of families with young children in the city, and home-based care is unaffordable for 80 percent of these families. (CCC used the federal affordability threshold of 7 percent of a family’s household income in their analysis.)

Just 1 percent of single-parent families can afford center-based care, and 5 percent can afford home-based care, according to their analysis.

Nicole Javorsky is a Report for America corps member.

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