Families Have Difficulty Affording Diapers

08/21/23  3:44 PM PST

Diapers are important. Whether you are old or young, big or small, diapers are needed by everyone at some point in life. Unfortunately, not everyone has adequate access to this daily necessity.

The Statistics

According to a national study commissioned by the National Diaper Bank Network, 47% of families are experiencing unmet diaper need in 2023. This means up to half of families do not have access to enough diapers to consistently stay clean, dry, and healthy.

A lack of diapers can lead to children not being accepted into childcare programs due to the family lacking a sufficient supply of diapers for the day. One in four parents or caregivers miss an average of five workdays monthly because of this. For an adult earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, that is a loss of approximately $300 per month. For approximately half of the U.S. population who earns an hourly rate of $12-$14, this is a loss of $520 per month.

46% of families report being forced to cut back on other expenses to afford more diapers. Most commonly, this included a reduction in entertainment (56%), food (35%), and utility (19%) expenses. 28% of these families stated that they skipped meals to help afford more diapers. 66% of the families that reported experiencing unmet diaper need were also classified as low income.

Nearly 3 out of 4 families with unmet diaper need report elevated levels of stress and anxiety surrounding their responsibilities. More than half of parents and caregivers who struggle to provide enough diapers for their child and/or elderly family member stated that they feel judged as a bad parent or caregiver.

Not Just for Babies

Babies aren’t the only ones that need diapers. It’s estimated that 25 million Americans experience some type of incontinence. Due to adults living longer, the number of Americans who suffer from incontinence-related issues continues to increase. Incontinence can be brought on by underlying medical issues related to age, pregnancy/childbirth, and other medical conditions. (Note: Many Medicaid plans will cover diapers with a qualifying medical diagnosis and a physician’s prescription.)

In 2021, the National Diaper Bank Network distributed 2 million products on average each month to approximately 4,125 adults throughout the US. The National Diaper Bank Network’s member programs are working to increase the number of products they offer for adult incontinence, but they need your help.

National Diaper Need Awareness Week

This year, National Diaper Need Awareness Week is taking place from Monday, September 18 to Friday, September 24. National Diaper Need Awareness Week provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, communities, and elected officials to engage in real talk and simple actions to help end unmet Diaper Need.

What can you do to participate in National Diaper Need Awareness Week?

  • Host a diaper drive.
  • Volunteer at a local diaper bank.
  • Request proclamations from elected officials.
  • Engage in Real Talk on social media via #EndDiaperNeed and #BasicsArentBasic
  • Donate to the National Diaper Bank Network and/or a local diaper program.

Visit the National Diaper Bank Network website to find a Diaper Bank near you!


Recent Incontinence

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