Diaper need is the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep an infant or toddler clean, dry and, healthy. Unfortunately, diaper need is a pervasive problem: 1 in 3 American families has to choose between giving their baby diapers or food. It’s no surprise why so many parents are struggling to provide diapers to their children. Infants require up to twelve diapers per day, toddlers about eight. Additionally, unlike other important resources like education or health insurance, there is currently no federal or state assistance for purchasing diapers. Without help from the government, the average low-income family pays about $1,000 a year for diapers. For some, this is up to 14 percent of their after-tax income.
Hawaiʻi is also considered one of the most expensive places to live. Based on recent census data, Hawaiʻi County has the highest rate of poverty in Hawaiʻi, with 18.7 percent of individuals living below the federal poverty level ($24,858 for a family of four). Among those in poverty, children are hit the hardest. There are 11, 841 children aged 0-5 in Hawaiʻi County living below the federal poverty level. That translates to more than 30% of children under five years old living in poverty. In fact, Kids Count Data Center estimates more than 50% of children under the age of six are living in low-income households (200% of the federal poverty level).
Diaper need contributes to the cycle of poverty for low-income families. For
instance, at most child care centers, a supply of 6-8 diapers is required to drop a
baby off. Therefore, lack of diapers is actually preventing children from early educational experiences and preventing mothers from returning to the workforce. A sufficient diaper supply provides immediate relief to families who are struggling to provide the basics for their children. This one item allows mothers to tackle other issues like how to pay rent and utilities, how to get food on the table, and how to support the healthy development of her child/children.