The Shocking New Cost of Childcare
Life + Money

The Shocking New Cost of Childcare

Last year, it cost more for a family to send an infant to full-time daycare than it did to send a student to public college in 31 states, according to a report released today by Child Care Aware.

The cost of full-time licensed daycare was unaffordable (defined in this study as 10 percent of state median income) in 38 states for infant care, and 23 states for a four-year-old. However, the actual cost of child care varied widely by region.

In New York, the most expensive state, center-based infant care set a family back more than $16,500, while in the cheapest state, Mississippi, the price tag for the same care was just $5,500.

Related: Crisis in Child Care Rings Alarm Bells

Despite those high prices, child care workers receive relatively low pay, due to high overhead costs. The average wage for full-time child care workers last year was $10.33 per hour.

“Quality affordable child care provides critical support to our nation’s workforce,” Lynette Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware said in a statement. “It’s time to address the disparity between high child care costs and low provider wages, and find a solution to what has become a crisis.”

The Census Bureau estimates that on any given week about 12.5 million children under the age of five are enrolled in some form of child care. Urban parents tend to pay significantly more, on average, than rural parents in the same state.

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