Skip to main content

What is the 'diaper gap' – and could these MN lawmakers help close it?

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The achievement gap and income gap have been discussed in Congress for the past decade, but a new gap issue in is gaining traction in Washington D.C. – the diaper gap.

The basic concept of the diaper gap? Every family with infants needs diapers. But for poorer families, that essential cost eats up a significant amount of their overall budget when compared to more financially secure families.

So Sen. Al Franken introduced a bill to help families afford the cost of diapers, his office said Friday. It's co-sponsored by Bob Casey, a Pennsylvannia Democrat, and would provide support to states and local governments. Franken, also a Democrat, says about one-third of the country has trouble affording diapers.

“No family in our country should go to the store and be forced to choose between buying diapers or groceries,” the second-term senator said in the release.

His proposal is endorsed by more than 20 baby- and family-friendly organizations, including The American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund and Child Care Aware of Minnesota.

Ellison is also on board

Rep. Keith Ellison, who serves Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, introduced a similar bill late last year in the U.S. House.

It would allow states to provide diapers or a diaper subsidy for low-income and working families, the Democrat has said.

“With millions of families struggling to provide diapers for their children, it’s time we recognize that families are being forced to make tough decisions that affect their child’s health," he said.

The White House is also looking at it

President Barack Obama weighed in on the issue in March, saying his administration would be pursuing ways to make diapers more affordable for low-income families.

The lowest 20 percent of families with infants pay 14 percent of their income for diapers alone – an average of $936 per child per year, Obama said in a blog post titled "The Diaper Divide," which also noted that diapers are not optional.

Samantha Bee recently had a segment in her TBS show "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" were she criticized opponents to the diaper legislation (Note: the video does contain swearing).

Next Up


How the fastest animal on the planet returned to MN after local extinction

The fastest animal on Earth had once vanished from Minnesota and Wisconsin.


St. Paul's new 'skate trail' brings non-traditional park to life

Gateway Park is the first of four parks to open in the Highland Bridge redevelopment.


80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.


30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota State colleges, U of M boosting tuition again

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.

Pro choice rally

Walz, Jensen react to historic Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

After voting to overturn Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted contraception and same-sex marriage protections should follow.


Keith Ellison ranked among most influential Congress members on Twitter

The Democratic representative landed on several top ten lists in a Twitter analysis from public relations firm Edelman. Rep. Michele Bachmann also scored among the most popular Congress members on the social network, and Sen. Al Franken ranked among the most trusted.