In October 2022, the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison released a new policy brief about diaper scarcity titled, “Diaper Dilemma: Low-Income Families Face High Costs And Limited Supplies Of An Essential Good.”

“Diapers are a critical element of care for infants and young children, and a substantial expense for many parents. The challenges are particularly acute for households facing economic hardship.”

Diapers are necessary for the health and well-being of the child or children, but the lack of diapers can affect a parent’s ability to maintain consistent childcare and employment, which can further exacerbate income instability. The brief covers the impact of diaper scarcity and current efforts to address the problem, and lays out the needed policy solutions:

  • Classify diapers as a medical necessity,
  • Allow for diaper purchases with safety net program funds and increase amounts,
  • Make diapers non-taxable,
  • Public funding of diaper banks,
  • Provide direct diaper aid to families.