Nicole Flatow is the editor of CityLab. She was previously U.S. enterprise editor at The Guardian.
To all the mothers struggling to balance work and small kids, here’s an idea: Consider Quebec. In one of the most popular stories from CityLab’s special series, Room to Grow, we look at the legacy and impact of Quebec’s subsidized childcare program, which introduced low-fee, universal child care in the province in 1996 and became a model adopted by many other cities and countries.
In the years since, one impact has stood out with particular clarity. “Since beginning the program more than two decades ago, Quebec has seen the rate of women age 26 to 44 in the workforce reach 85 percent, the highest in the world,” writes Molly McCluskey, the series editor and the author of this story. The change in employment rates was particularly dramatic among mothers of young kids. Between 1997
Quebec’s program is not without its hurdles. One of the most pressing: There’s not enough public daycare to meet the demand, and subsidized private care is not yet hitting the same quality standard. But so far, because of the dramatic impact on labor force participation among women with young children, economists say the program pays for itself.
Happy Mother’s Day! To celebrate, catch up on the rest of our series on raising tiny humans in the city.
More from Room to Grow
“My friends and family think this is insane. They are right.” That’s how one mother named Maggie described her carless life with a small child. But that hasn’t stopped her from keeping the practice going in Brooklyn.
A few months ago, we asked parents of small kids how those of you who get around the city without a car make it work—whether the lifestyle is a choice or a financial necessity. And oh, did you tell us. In our final article in the series, we’ve published a selection of your answers.
Anton Lodder, in Toronto, said he makes “carry-the-stroller-up-the-stairs” into a game for his two-year-old on the subway. Several of you in certain European cities like Munich said it would actually be more difficult to have a car living in the city center. But some of you had a darker take: Even with the lightest, most compact, urban-oriented stroller, lots of cities aren’t built for families to live this way. And the only way to get by is to ask for help. Reader Yael Levine, who gets around Manhattan with twins, writes:
There’s something beautiful about putting yourself in a position where you’ll need a hand, about being ok with being dependent, and viewing as natural or no big deal to need and accept someone’s help.
Get a few tips from the pros. Read: How You Get Around the City With Young Kids and No Car
More stories on children and cities
- How to inspire girls to become carpenters and electricians
- The latest trend in co-working: child care
- How scientists discovered what dirty air does to kids’ health
- For students in Baltimore, getting to school can be a scary ride
- How to design playgrounds for the world’s most vulnerable kids
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This is the final edition of the Room to Grow pop-up newsletter. If you like what you’ve been reading, please subscribe to our other newsletters here so you don't miss our continued coverage on raising families in cities. And please tell us what you think. Send comments, feedback, and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding was provided by the Bernard van Leer Foundation to support our project, “Room to Grow,” about raising tiny humans in the city.