Washington, D.C. — Although New Hampshire households are doing better than the national average—at least in terms of median household income—income inequality and slow income growth coupled with rising costs are pressing concerns for New Hampshire families. However, a new analysis released today by the Center for American Progress reveals that the economic contributions of New Hampshire women have helped stave off some of the worst economic effects being felt in other parts of the nation.
Specifically, CAP’s analysis finds that had New Hampshire women not increased their labor supply and earnings between 1963 and 2013, income inequality in the state would be 15 percent higher than it is today.
“New Hampshire women have been essential to economic growth in the state, as well as to the economic well-being of New Hampshire families,” said Sarah Jane Glynn, Director of Women’s Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the brief. “But in order to unlock the full economic potential of New Hampshire women—and ensure that New Hampshire families are able to get ahead, not just get by—we need policies that better support working families.”
Despite all the advances that working women have made in New Hampshire and across the nation, much more remains to be done. The United States remains the only advanced economy that does not guarantee paid time off for working parents to care for a new child and is one of the only high-income nations that does not guarantee workers paid sick leave. Moreover, the cost of child care in the United States is high relative to other advanced economies.
“New Hampshire’s economy and families would be worse off if not for working women. Yet too many of us are forced to choose between our jobs and caring for our families because we don’t have the support necessary to do both,” said Amanda Sears, Director of the New Hampshire-based Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy. “We need policies that keep pace with the realities of New Hampshire’s workforce by ensuring that people can take off time to care for a sick loved one and have access to quality, affordable child care.”
Taken together, the United States’ unique lack of work-family policies can place a significant burden on working families, including New Hampshire women and mothers. In New Hampshire, 38.9 percent of private-sector employees—more than 202,000 workers—do not have access to a single paid sick day if they become ill or need to care for a sick child.
Even in the best-case scenarios in which working parents have access to benefits such as paid leave, other problems can arise. For example, the average cost of center-based care for an infant in New Hampshire is almost $12,000 per year, while the cost of care for a 4-year-old is only slightly lower at $9,500. For the average single mother in New Hampshire, the cost of center-based infant care would represent more than 40 percent of her income.
To address the work-family challenges facing working families today, strengthen women’s labor force participation, and help increase women’s earnings, CAP recommends policies that promote equal pay; increase the minimum wage; ensure access to paid sick days and paid family and medical leave; and make high-quality, affordable child care accessible to all families.
Read the issue brief: Women and Families’ Economic Security in New Hampshire by Sarah Jane Glynn, Brendan V. Duke, and Danielle Corley
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.5328.