Election Day is just one week away, and whoever wins the presidency could have a huge impact on your child care budget, since both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have introduced game-changing plans to help make child care more affordable.
As it stands, the average cost of full-time care in child care centers in the United States is currently $9,589 a year—18 percent of median household income. And in-home care is even more expensive, with the typical cost for a full-time in-home caregiver or nanny clocking in at $28,353 a year.
Even more disheartening is the fact that while studies show brain development can take a hit in kids ages 4 and younger who lack access to quality care, the parents who leave the workforce because they can't cover the costs end up limiting their lifetime earning potential. Talk about a catch-22!
Using existing data from sources like the Census Bureau, AARP, and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Care.com took a look at both of the candidates' respective paid leave and child care proposals in order to gauge what kind of impact they might have on the millions of American families struggling to afford quality care. Then they crunched the numbers to see how each of the plans measured up.
Here's what they found:
Under Clinton's plan to cap childcare costs at 10 percent of a family's household income, a median-income family (which makes about $54,000 per year) would save $4,241 for in-center care, and $23,006 for in-home care, while families in the top 1 percent would not save any money for either type of care. Clinton's plan would also provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a mom or dad after the birth or adoption of a child, and to anyone to care for sick family members, paid at two-thirds of the employee's regular salary.
Under Trump's plan, utilizing a series of tax credits, a median-income family would save $1,435 per child for both in-center and in-home care, while families at the top 1 percent would save the most: $3,164 per child. Stay-at-home parents would also save $1,435 under Trump's plan. And he has proposed six weeks of maternity leave for women after the birth or adoption of a child, paid at the same amount they would collect in unemployment benefits had they been laid off.
The big takeaway here is who saves the most: The top 1 percent would benefit more with Trump's plan, but see no change in childcare costs under Clinton, while those at the poverty and median income level would see huge reductions under Clinton's plan. And while there are key differences in the candidates' family leave policies—Trump's plan is for new moms, while Clinton's is gender neutral, for example—the fact that both candidates are supporting paid family leave for the first time in U.S. history is a major breakthrough.
For more on how the candidates' plan stack up, check out the full Care.com report.