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Study: Childcare is unaffordable for U.S. medical residents

Written by | 5 May 2024 | Occupational Health

Resident physicians at more than 98% of U.S. training programs aren’t paid enough to afford childcare, according to a new national study. The research will be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2024 Meeting, held May 3-6 in Toronto.

Childcare remains unaffordable even at most programs that subsidize childcare or offer it onsite, the examination of data from the Labor Department and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) revealed.

“People in the United States from many walks of life struggle to pay for childcare, and resident physicians are no exception,” said Ryan Brewster, MD, resident physician at Boston Children’s Hospital and presenting author. “If we want to address this country’s physician shortage, we need to ensure that talented, motivated residents of all backgrounds—who already work long hours and, all too often, carry huge student loan debts—earn enough for basic childcare.”

The study of second-year residents at 935 accredited residency programs found that childcare is less likely to be affordable in urban areas and in the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and on the West Coast. Researchers found that childcare has become less affordable over the last two decades. Resident physician salaries fell by 0.23% while childcare costs rose by 44.7% between 2000 and 2022, according to the study.

Childcare becomes unaffordable when it consumes more than 7% of household income, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

These findings underscore the need for multilevel advocacy for graduate medical compensation, according to the authors.

About the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting

Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting connects thousands of leading pediatric researchers, clinicians, and medical educators worldwide united by a common mission: Connecting the global academic pediatric community to advance scientific discovery and promote innovation in child and adolescent health. The PAS Meeting is produced through the partnership of four leading pediatric associations; the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Academic Pediatric Association (APA), the American Pediatric Society (APS), and the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR). For more information, please visit www.pas-meeting.org. Follow us on X @PASMeeting and like us on Facebook PASMeeting.

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