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The Data-driven Case for Care

By Dr. Renee Wittemyer, Vice President, Program Strategy, Pivotal Ventures
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According to a recent survey commissioned by Pivotal Ventures and Bipartisan Policy Center Action and conducted by Morning Consult, two in three caregivers say that being there for their loved ones has impacted their personal finances, with over a third reporting that they’ve had to take on more credit card debt. In fact, caregiving responsibilities are one of the main reasons why women are forced to cut back at work or leave the workforce altogether. That’s not just bad news for them and their families; it also costs our economy billions of dollars every year.

But there is good news, too. There are proven solutions to the care crisis, and, as data from Pivotal and our partners shows, Americans are demanding change from leaders across sectors. The data makes another crucial point: When caregivers have access to better solutions, ​​​​our society will be more equitable, our businesses will be more competitive, and our economy will be stronger.

67% of caregivers say that being there for their loved ones has impacted their personal finances. 33% say they've had to accrue credit card debt due to their caregiving responsibilities.

Photo by Johner Images/Getty Images.

Survey conducted by Morning Consult from May 31-June 2, 2024.

The case for policymakers to invest in care

According to the Morning Consult survey, 82 percent of U.S. voters said it should be an important or top priority for political candidates and policymakers to support investments that make it easier for Americans to care for their loved ones. This covers the entire political spectrum: 89 percent of those who identify as Democrat, 80 percent of those who identify as Republican, and 77 percent of those who identify as Independent.

Fortunately, there are policies that public officials can enact to support families, build a modern caregiving system, and strengthen the U.S. economy. Consider government tax credits or subsidies to make caregiving more affordable. Or a national paid family and medical leave policy. What’s more: Each of these solutions enjoy broad support from at least 3 in 4 voters, according to our survey.

Pivotal’s partners are advocating for the caregiving policies the American public seeks. For example, Bipartisan Policy Center Action works on both sides of the aisle to advance paid leave and other viable solutions. The First Five Years Fund also works across the aisle to promote policies that would make child care and early learning programs more affordable. And Caring Across Generations creates support for policies that would build a stronger care system across the board from child care to care for older adults and people with disabilities. This year and beyond, Pivotal will continue to support our partners to let public officials and candidates know that investing in care is something our country needs and voters want.

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  • 82% of voters believe it should be an important or top priority for political candidates and policymakers to support increasing investments that make it easier for Americans to care for their loved ones.

    Photo by The Washington Post/Getty Images.

    Survey conducted by Morning Consult from May 31-June 2, 2024.

  • 67% of caregivers think the government needs to do more to address the needs, challenges, and financial costs of being a caregiver.

    Photo by Portland Press Herald/Getty Images.

    Survey conducted by Morning Consult from May 31-June 2, 2024.

  • 64% of voters—nearly two-thirds—say they would be somewhat or much more likely to vote for a political candidate who pledges to make caregiving easier and more affordable for American families.

    Photo by The Washington Post/Getty Images.

    Survey conducted by Morning Consult from May 31-June 2, 2024.

  • 65% of registered voters polled say caregiving benefits would be very or somewhat important to their decision to accept a job, if they were offered it today.

    Photo by Juanmonino/Getty Images.

    Survey conducted by Morning Consult from May 31-June 2, 2024.

  • 68% of surveyed caregivers say being a caregiver has impacted their mental health

    Photo by The Good Brigade/Getty Images.

    Survey conducted by Morning Consult from May 31-June 2, 2024.

The case for companies to invest in care

Americans expect more support not only from their elected officials, but also from their employers. In fact, child care and other caregiving support for employees have become must-haves for businesses that want to recruit and retain top talent and keep pace with global competitors.

Our partner, Moms First, in 2022 published “The Business Case for Child Care,” which shows that more than 80 percent of both men and women with kids under the age of 5 cited child care benefits as a deciding factor in their decision about whether to stay in their job. What’s more, a Harvard Business School (HBS) report finds that one-third of people surveyed said they had left a job because of caregiving responsibilities. Our own survey found that for 65 percent of voters, caregiving benefits would be very or somewhat important to their decision to accept a job, if it were offered today.

​​​When employee turnover costs businesses in the U.S. more than $1 trillion every year, helping employees with child care and other caregiving needs could save employers more than it costs. In fact, a follow up report from Moms First looked at five companies that provide child care benefits and found a positive return on investment for all of them, up to 425 percent in one case.

ROI of providing childcare benifits reached up 425%

Photo by Monique Jaques for Pivotal Ventures.

Source: Report from Moms First and BCG.

The case for investing in caregiving innovation

Americans are also expressing their demand for caregiving solutions as consumers. A landmark report from our partner The Holding Co, created in partnership with Pivotal, found that Americans spend $648 billion on care every year, and caregivers control $6 trillion of household income. While we’re seeing more investors and entrepreneurs focus on innovation in caregiving, there is still a huge and under-tapped market opportunity to create products and services that make caregiving easier and more joyful for everyone.

Pivotal Ventures supports venture capital funds and early-stage companies that are looking to seize this opportunity, paving the way for even greater investment in care. For example, Cake Ventures, led by Monique Woodard, invests in Guaranteed, which is revolutionizing end-of-life care by using technology to augment, but not replace, at-home care. And the portfolio at Magnify Ventures, led by Julie Wroblewski and Joanna Drake, includes Cocoon, which is building software to make it easier for employers to offer paid leave—and for employees to take it. The care economy is only going to get bigger, and now is the time for funders, founders, and innovators to bring their ideas and resources to the table.

The U.S. spends $648B on care annually.

Photo by Jackie Molloy for Pivotal Ventures.

Source: Investor's Guide to the Care Economy.

The time for action is now

A modern caregiving system is vital to the health and well-being of women, families, and communities across the United States. Caregiving is an economic issue, and it’s an issue of equality. It’s also an issue we can do something about.

Help spread the word. Share this article on social media using the #CareCantWait hashtag.

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