Wednesday Opinion: The Cost of Childcare


How much US parents spend on childcare depends on where in the country they live. Generally if  a family lives and works in the city, they’ll pay more. Here some statistics from
While your child is in the baby and toddler stages, you’ll pay more. That’s because kids this age need more hands-on care and so the center must hire more caregivers. The average cost of center-based daycare in the United States is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly), according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). Parents report higher costs – up to $2,000 a month for infant care – in cities like Boston and San Francisco.

Topping the charts with costs over $10,000 a year for baby and toddler daycare are the following states, beginning with the most expensive: Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Illinois, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

By contrast, the states with least expensive childcare are Mississippi ($4,650 a year on average for an infant or toddler), Kentucky ($6,500), and South Carolina ($5,850).

Childcare for preschoolers

Costs for daycare for preschool-age children are generally lower, averaging $8,800 a year ($733 a month). Depending on where you live, you’ll pay anywhere from $4,460 to $13,185 a year ($371 to $1,100 a month).

The most expensive states for preschool-age care in a childcare center, with costs over $8,000 a year ($667 a month), beginning with the most expensive, are Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.. The least expensive states for preschool-age care in a childcare center, with costs ranging from less than $4,000 a year ($333 a month) to around $7,000 a year are Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Idaho, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Alabama.

To find out more about daycare options and costs in your area, contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency. More than 850 CCR&R agencies throughout the country provide families with information about local childcare options and resources. To find an agency near you, call the hotline at (800) 424-2246 or visit the Child Care Aware website. The website features a helpful tool that tells you the average cost of home daycare and daycare centers in your zip code.

How much does nanny care cost?

A nanny may be your most expensive option. Keep in mind that when you hire a nanny youbecome an employer, and the U.S. government expects you to pay your nanny’s Social Security taxes and fulfill other responsibilities.Depending on where you live, how many children you have, and how stiff the competition is for qualified candidates, nannies cost anywhere from $500 to $700 a week ($2,167 to $3,033 a month) for full-time care and between about $400 and $650 a week ($1,733 to $2,817 a month) for part-time hours — though your costs could be a bit lower if it’s a live-in situation.

According to the International Nanny Association, nanny salaries are highest in the New England, Middle Atlantic, and Pacific states. Since a nanny is an employee, many parents pay for their nanny’s health insurance. If you do this, the nanny usually picks her own health plan and provides you with the financial breakdown. You can then decide to pay for all or part of the premium. You may also want to offer other benefits, such as paid holidays, vacation, and sick days.

Is Childcare becoming too expensive? This CNN reports suggests so:

Sunah Hwang, 38, never intended to leave her job as a public school teacher after her son was born in 2007. “I always wanted to be a teacher. I thought I could spend time with my kids and have the best of both worlds,” she said. 

But the family’s finances told a different story. Hwang made $48,000 a year but brought home about $30,000 after taxes, health insurance and retirement contributions. Even though the Hwangs live in Virginia, wherechild care costs are among the lowest in the country, care for one child still would have cost $12,000 a year.

“It wasn’t worth $18,000 for us to let somebody else raise our son,” she said. 

So Hwang quit her job. Now the family relies solely on her husband’s annual income as an IT consultant, which has not quite been enough. 

When Hwang was pregnant with their second child, her husband picked up a part-time job as a real estate broker on weekends, but money is still tight 

“We’re not struggling, we’re surviving, but we are not living well off,” she said. 

Source: By Jessica Dickler 

Don’t forget to check out our Thursday Book Review: Working Moms 411 with Michelle LaRowe