Bad news, Nevadans.
The Silver State has among the highest child care costs nationwide and is one of the worst states for working moms, says a report issued this month by WalletHub, a personal finance industry-based social network.
“The most apparent issue that Nevada seems to have, based on our raw data, is the policy, or lack thereof, on parental leave and support for breastfeeding mothers,” said Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of WalletHub.com, which ranked Nevada 46th on the list of the best and worst states and the District of Columbia for working mothers.
The top five, respectively, were Oregon, District of Columbia, Vermont, Maine and New York. Nos. 47 through 51, trailing Nevada in order, were South Carolina, Idaho, Wyoming, Mississippi and Louisiana.
“I am surprised by this,” said lifelong Las Vegan Tamica Evans, a sales executive for a real estate title and escrow company for the past 18 years and mother of two children, ages 4 and 13. “I have been lucky to have been employed by companies (that) offer paid sick time, short term disability and maternity leave. Also, the title and escrow industry has between 90 and 95 percent female employees and the companies I have worked for have been run by women so there have been great advancement opportunities.”
The report, the first of its kind for the personal finance website, determined that the average cost of child care in Nevada is 24 percent of the median annual income for a woman.
“I knew child care was expensive, but I honestly didn’t realize these costs were less in other states,” Evans said. “For one child in day care, I pay approximately $800 per month for full-time care, 40 hours, five days a week. Many parents I know have two or more children enrolled in preschool. I don’t know how they do it as I’m sure they pay out at least half of their monthly income.”
Las Vegas resident Angela Turner isn’t shocked at Nevada’s poor ranking as she balances caring for four children ages 3 to 8 and working as a hotel revenue and distribution analyst as she’s done for the past 13 years.
“One of the reasons likely has to do with the hours that are often worked by people here in Nevada and Las Vegas specifically,” Turner said. “Also, medical costs here are crazy, which I am sure attributes to it. Additionally, if you are already on a career path and you have a child, it can be hard to take the amount of time off that you want because of the pressure to return to work.”
Papadimitriou advises working mothers to find a job in a place that is empathetic to and supportive of the demands of both business and family.
“Find a place that will allow you to have the benefits of both without having to choose one over the other for whatever reason,” he said. “If you are finding that you have an imbalance, evaluate what you are doing at work that potentially is the cause of this imbalance, think about some possible solutions, and then speak with your employer about how you can still do your work, but have the time you need to have a happy family.”
Turner hopes the report spurs changes in Nevada.
“The state could pay for at least part of a working mother’s maternity leave and work to lower the cost of health care and child care for children and families,” she said.
“What would be great is to be able to have a child care facility at my place of business, especially when my kids were babies. It would have been amazing to be able to go and spend time with my kids during my lunch break. It would have made me feel like my work and home life were more balanced.”
Contact reporter Ann Friedman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0391. Follow @AnnFriedmanRJ on Twitter.