81% of Gen Z + Millennials say affordable childcare is an important issue

This isn't a partisan issue. It's a generational issue.

gen z millennial concern affordable childcare

People often frame affordable childcare as a partisan issue, but the truth is Americans are not so divided when it comes to wanting affordable childcare.

As Motherly reported earlier this month, the United States is experiencing a childcare crisis that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are rightfully concerned about. Politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, are concerned because their constituents are concerned.

A new survey from Next100 and GenForward shows 72% of Gen Z and Millennials say a lack of quality, affordable childcare is a barrier to achieving their career goals and more than 8 in 10 (81%) say access to child care is important.


And it's not just those who identify as left-leaning, politically. The majority of Republicans surveyed (79%) agreed with the 86% of Democrats on the importance of affordable childcare. It also isn't only parents who feel this way: 76% of those who don't have kids consider affordable childcare important. In fact, the lack of affordable childcare is a factor in why some of these younger Americans are not parents. Almost nine out of 10 (87%) of those surveyed say the cost of childcare is an important factor when determining whether or not to become a parent.

This shouldn't be news in 2020.

Way back in 2013, Stewart D. Friedman, founding director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family, was among those ringing this alarm.

Friedman studied the attitudes of undergrads in 2012 and compared the answers to those given by undergrads in 1992. In 20 years, there was a remarkable difference in the future American college students could see for themselves.

As Friedman explained in a 2013 interview, "What just popped off the screen as we were looking at the initial findings was the result in response to the question, 'Do you plan to have or adopt children?' In 1992, 78% said, 'Yes.' In 2012, 42% said, 'Yes.'"

"The cost of child care is one of the factors causing young people to opt out of parenthood—and that's a problem," Friedman explained. "It's a problem that can be solved in terms of what the private sector can do, and what government can do to improve child care infrastructure and paid family leave."

In the years since Friedman called the United States childcare system "embarrassing" and "tragic" compared to systems in countries where early childhood education and care is heavily subsidized, little has been done to help young people see parenthood as a sustainable financial path. It's just gotten worse.

The Next100 and GenForward data shows 75% of Gen Z and Millennial women and 68% of Millennial and Gen Z men say "that the lack of access to affordable child care is a barrier to their professional success."

It's time for the United States to invest in the future by investing in childcare. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's recently released plan for lower cost childcare may appeal to some of these Gen Z and Millennial voters, but there are still many people in the United States who oppose federally-funded childcare schemes.

Last year, a Hill-HarrisX survey found 72% of registered voters 50 and older said day care costs should be paid by parents, not a federally funded universal childcare program or a subsidy that would halve costs.

But those voices may soon be drowned out by generations of parents and would-be parents who need support to care for the childcare that will inherit this nation.

Politicians at all levels and in all parties need to step up and listen to what these generations are saying. Or the next one may be much smaller.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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