Robin Hood, New York City’s largest poverty-fighting philanthropy, today joined with advocates, child care providers, and business leaders to release a poll from Harlem to the Hudson that showed overwhelming support for increasing New York State’s investment in child care programs.
The poll found that 62% of New Yorkers favor making more people eligible for child care subsidies in the state budget.
Notably, the survey found that New Yorkers are enthusiastic about this policy, with 24% of respondents “strongly” in favor.
The poll also found strong support for increasing the state’s investment in child care across all political parties and regions of the state.
“Too many New Yorkers struggle to find affordable, quality child care, and the pandemic has only made this crisis worse. New Yorkers of all backgrounds overwhelmingly support expanding the state’s investment in child care because they understand parents can’t work, children can’t learn, and child care workers can’t survive unless something changes,” said Richard R. Buery, Jr., CEO of Robin Hood. “Increasing New York’s investment in child care is a win-win for Albany — it’s the right thing to do and enjoys broad support across the state. As lawmakers and the Governor work toward a budget, this poll makes clear that New Yorkers want increased investments in child care now.”
Research has repeatedly shown equitable access to affordable, high-quality, and culturally responsive child care and early learning opportunities equip children with tools and experiences that are needed for future success.
With more than 100,000 children ages 0-3 living below the poverty line in New York City alone, affordable, high-quality child care is critical to ensuring these children do not fall further behind.
Expanding access to child care is also critical to our post-COVID recovery.
Robin Hood and Columbia University’s Center on Poverty & Social Policy recently released an economic analysis that found increasing state investments to help families access quality, affordable child care would lift 84,000 New Yorkers out of poverty, allow 76,000 single parents or secondary earners to re-enter the workforce, increase income for 1.2 million families, and reduce the child poverty rate for babies and toddlers by 12%.
Finally, this policy would increase wages for the thousands of child care workers who earn poverty wages, despite being essential workers who shape the next generation’s future.
Currently, at least 65% of child care workers in New York State receive some type of public assistance and 1-in-4 employed child care workers in New York City live in poverty.
This low level of pay reflects gender and racial bias — 93% of child care workers are women and overwhelmingly women of color.
In addition to overwhelming support for expanding the state’s child care investments, the survey found that New Yorkers support specific elements of proposals currently being debated in Albany by 2-to-1 margins, including:
- 59% of New Yorkers support fully subsidizing child care for families who make less than four times the Federal Poverty Level ($106,000 for a family of four), while just 29% do not;
- 59% of New Yorkers support capping child care expenses at 7% of income for families who make less than $250,000, compared to just 29% who do not; and
- 62% of New Yorkers support increasing the minimum pay for child care workers — who often earn poverty wages — to at least $45,000 per year, compared to just 26% who do not.
Support for expanding child care investments cuts across party lines.
The poll found that a majority of Democrats (72%), Republicans (51%), and Independents (52%) support making more families eligible for subsidized child care through the state budget.
More New Yorkers of every political stripe support the specific policies being debated in Albany than oppose them — often by double digits.
These strong levels of support are also seen in every region of New York State, especially on Long Island, in New York City, Rochester, and the Hudson Valley. Regional highlights include:
- Buffalo — voters support expanding child care 65% to 26%;
- New York City — voters support expanding child care 65% to 23%;
- Rochester — voters support expanding child care 64% to 27%;
- Long Island — voters support expanding child care 61% to 30%;
- Hudson Valley — voters support expanding child care 60% to 30%; and
- Rest of State — voters support expanding child care 57% to 29%.
“The poll findings underscore that New Yorkers want a child care system that is high-quality and accessible to historically underserved families,” said Dia Bryant, executive director of The Education Trust–New York. “Even before the pandemic, all too many New Yorkers struggled to access child care that is both high-quality and affordable, and that issue has only become worse during the ongoing crisis. As New York seeks to imagine and create a child care system that is stronger and more equitable, it is crucial that increased access and capacity go hand in hand with efforts to ensure high-quality care. It is also critical that families historically underserved by the child care system are first in line when it comes to accessing new openings.”
“This poll underscores what those in the field have long known: New Yorkers want child care. They need child care. And they understand that our very economic recovery depends on parents, particularly women, being able to return to the workforce,” said Jessica Sager, co-founder, and CEO of All Our Kin, a nonprofit organization that trains, supports, and sustains family children care educators. “With increased investment at the state level, we can sustain the programs that already exist in neighborhoods across the city, build new programs, and begin to change a child care crisis to a child care opportunity.”
“Childcare has been a persistent challenge for small businesses in New York and across the country – made all the more difficult over the past two years during the pandemic. Small business owners and our employees need access to high-quality, affordable childcare – our economy isn’t working properly without it. Expanding access to affordable childcare for my employees will improve our productivity, increase our revenues, and help us retain workers and grow our business,” said Michaella Blissett Williams, owner of [salon]718 in Brooklyn, NY, and member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community.
New Yorkers’ overwhelming support for this policy may be due to the fact that a majority feel it is hard for many of their neighbors to find affordable and quality child care.
A majority of those surveyed said it was hard for lower-income workers (65%), single parents/caregivers (65%), working-class New Yorkers (59%), immigrant workers (58%), service workers (56%), hospitality workers (53%), and middle-class New Yorkers (52%) to access affordable and quality child care.
To read a memo on the poll’s findings, click HERE.
The online survey was conducted in English and Spanish by HarrisX between February 11 and February 16, 2022 and included 2,132 registered voters in New York State, with a sampling margin of error of +/- 2.1 percent.
In addition, five regions — New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, Buffalo, and Rochester — were oversampled to provide regional samples with a margin of error between +/- 4.5 percent and 5.6 percent.
Robin Hood has been fighting poverty in New York City since 1988. Because Robin Hood’s board covers all overhead, 100% of every donation goes directly to the poverty fight.
Last year, Robin Hood awarded $172 million in grants, filling a critical void during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing cash assistance, meals, housing, healthcare, education, and other urgent needs to one million New Yorkers impacted by , as well as funding an array of programs and initiatives developed to elevate families out of poverty in New York City.
Follow the organization on Twitter @RobinHoodNYC and learn more at www.robinhood.org.
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