Publisher’s Note:Every week we publish an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column on WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column Here.
The American family is shrinking. And not necessarily by choice. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows births in the United States fell 4 percent in 2020. The pandemic is likely to exacerbate this decline, but the trend started long before the current crisis: last year’s census showed that the US population rose only 7.4 percent in the 2010s – the slowest rate of growth since the 1930s.
It’s no surprise why. Having both children and healthy finances can be nearly impossible for young American families. Thanks to our uniquely Byzantine healthcare system, the average delivery with insurance costs more than $ 4,500. To make matters worse, parents may not get paid time off because the United States is the only developed nation in the world without paid family vacation. When parents return to work, they are burdened with exorbitant care costs. Center-based infant care averages more than $ 1,200 per month. And many offset these expenses with deleveraging; The average student borrower has loans of over $ 39,000.
Obviously, American society is not structured in a way that families can thrive. Democrats have an important opportunity to change that by meeting two of parents’ two most obvious needs: paid family vacations and affordable childcare.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column Here.