Biden's free daycare plan isn't what Americans really want

Subsidies for one parent to stay home are vastly more popular than free daycare

President Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

President Biden's American Families Plan, which he touted in his speech Wednesday evening to Congress, would invest large sums of money in care for kids under 5: $200 billion for free preschool and $225 billion on childcare subsidies and higher wages for childcare workers. If implemented, it could dramatically change the financial circumstances of many American families, particularly those with lower incomes. As the White House fact sheet says, it would "enable those who dropped out of the workforce [to care for their young children] ... to rejoin and stay in the workforce."

But that's not what most lower-income and working-class Americans want, poll results from this past January show. They overwhelmingly prefer to have one parent work fulltime and one provide childcare at home. Both parents working fulltime and using paid childcare was the least popular choice for lower-income respondents (those with "less than a 4-year degree and household income below $30,000") and second to last for the working class ("less than a 4-year degree and household income $30,000–$70,000"). The middle class has mixed opinions, and only the upper class ("household income above $150,000") favors having both parents in the workforce.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.