Cost of Diapers is a Challenge to Low-Income Families

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The week of September 26 – October 2 will be Diaper Need Awareness Week. In short, diapers are expensive and low-income families are struggling to pay for them. In fact, 1 in 3 families in the United States struggles with diaper need. The Austin Diaper Bank estimates that families can spend around $100 per month on diapers for one child. Unfortunately, federal assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) do not cover the cost of diapers, presenting a real challenge for low-income Texas families.

A report in the journal Pediatrics reported that concerns over how to pay for diapers is now among the top stressors for low-income families. In this study, 1 in 12 mothers admitted to ‘stretching’ diaper supply. Mothers were forced to leave a dirty diaper on their child or clean and reuse a disposable diaper because they could not afford new ones.

At CPPP, we have long talked about the true cost of what it takes for families to make ends meet. Our Family Budgets tool shows, for example, that a single mom of two kids in San Antonio needs to make around $17.15 an hour to make ends meet. That means she’d have to work nearly six hours just to pay for the diapers she needs for the month.

“Diaper need highlights the problems that low-income families have providing for basic needs including personal hygiene and cleaning supplies after paying for rent, transportation, utilities, health and child care,” said Flora Brewer, a Fort Worth businesswoman and Center for Public Policy Priorities board member.

To participate in Diaper Need Awareness Week, you can raise awareness on social media, volunteer to host a diaper drive, help sort donated diapers at a local diaper bank, or make monetary or diaper donations to a local diaper bank. To learn more, click here.

Access to clean diapers can make a big difference for Texas families.

This post was written by CPPP Research and Planning Intern Katie Martin.

Diaper Need Awareness Week

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