A new EPI report finds that a $15 federal minimum wage by 2025 would raise pay for more than two in five (43.5%) child care workers, or 560,000 workers.
The vast majority (95.4%) of child care workers who would get a raise are women, and 36.2% are Black or Hispanic. Nearly half (48.5%) of Black child care workers would benefit from the Raise The Wage Act—which would establish a $15 minimum wage by 2025—a higher share than other race/ethnicity groups.
Among those child care workers who would get a raise, average annual pay for year-round workers would rise by $2,900 (in 2021 dollars). The year-round earnings of Black or Hispanic child care workers would increase by $3,200 and $3,100, respectively.
The report also examines the share of child care workers by state who would receive higher pay from a $15 minimum wage. More than two out of every three child care workers would have higher take-home pay in Alabama (72.3%), Arkansas (69.1%), Iowa (72.8%), Kansas (76.3%), Kentucky (78.8%), Louisiana (72.0%), Mississippi (69.0%), Nebraska (68.9%), New Mexico (69.1%), Oklahoma (73.0%), Texas (70.0%), Utah (75.2%), and Wisconsin (67.1%).
“Low wages for child care workers reinforce existing racial and gender inequality, since both Black child care workers and women are particularly likely to see their wages increase with a $15 minimum wage.” says Julia Wolfe, co-author of the report and state economic analyst for EPI. “Child care workers deserve to be paid a wage that better reflects the value of their work and allows them to care for their own families.”
Low wages for child care workers have for too long been treated as a “solution” to help make child care affordable. These services remain unaffordable for many low- and middle-income families, while low wages leave child care workers economically vulnerable and compromise the quality of care children receive.
“Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 is an important first step, and policymakers must also address the affordability issue for families by investing in this critical service to lower the costs in tandem with raising the minimum wage,” says Ben Zipperer, co-author of the report and an economist for EPI.