For many residents, the cost of raising a family is enormous |

For many residents, the cost of raising a family is enormous

A new survey finds that a typical Nevada County family could spend as much as 26 percent of its household budget on child care. The figure is startling, and it provides yet another argument for the development of good-paying jobs in western Nevada County.

The survey by California Child Care Resource and Referral Network – admittedly, an advocate for child-care related issues – found that day care for an infant in Nevada County would cost $6,453 a year. A family earning the county’s median income of $43,279 easily could spend a quarter of its budget to provide daycare for two children.

But that’s just one of the pressures on young families in western Nevada County.

Some 45 percent of Nevada County families surveyed by United Way last year say they’re paying a third or more of their income to housing, and 16 percent say more than half their income is spent on housing. While current data wasn’t available for the United Way survey, figures from 1990 show that renters – many of them young families, many of them with children – were paying the highest percentage of their incomes toward housing.

This means that a young family in Nevada County can’t choose to keep one parent at home while children are young. For many families, one full-time job is needed simply to pay for housing. A second job in the family pays for everything else.

But, last week’s study shows, childcare costs eat up much of the income generated when both parents work. Something has to give.

We doubt that the costs of renting or buying a house are going to decline anytime soon.

We doubt, too, that the costs of child-care will decline – especially in light of the worthy effort to make sure that child-care workers are paid more for their work.

We doubt that low-paying service jobs – taking care of senior citizens, cutting the lawns of upper-income homeowners, serving meals to tourists – will create the sorts of incomes necessary to allow workers to pay the costs of housing and child-care.

The only answer is continued effort to create good-paying professional and manufacturing jobs for Nevada County families.

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