Survey: Working parents anxious over career, child care balance in pandemic

This story is part of “Parenting in a Pandemic,” WTOP’s continuing coverage of how parents are dealing with childcare, schooling and more through the coronavirus pandemic.

Parenting through the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard, and if you’re a working parent, a new survey suggests you don’t think what you’re doing now is sustainable either.

As the business world comes around to the notion that child care benefits are increasingly important, a new survey out this week from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business-facing nonprofit and lobbying group, reiterates the anxieties many working parents are feeling as they balance careers and kids.

The bottom line is 75% of working parents have a kid at home with a parent during normal work hours, and 60% of working parents said the current arrangement has to change within the next year. More than half of that 60% said that change needs to come within the next three months.

With many schools looking at virtual learning for the fall semester, long-term relief for struggling parents is still potentially months away.

And though demand for child care has skyrocketed, the industry itself is facing its own struggles that have kept openings in programs low.

Most working parents have had to change their current arrangements when it comes to child care — an industry 13 million American parents rely on so they can go to work.

Working remotely has helped some, but typically those jobs are done by high-income earners who, more often than not, are also white.

The survey finds less than 25% of low-income earners are able to work from home, and less than half of Black and Hispanic parents have had that choice during the pandemic.

So, though 22% of working parents aren’t sure they’re going to be able to work the way they did before the pandemic, that number is even higher for Black or Hispanic parents.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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