September 4, 2020

Childcare Costs

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Childcare costs families $9,100 to $9,600 per year. Find the latest childcare cost statistics including the most expensive and most affordable states.

Childcare is a necessity for every parent in the US.

So why isn't it affordable for everyone?

72% of US families spend at least 10% of their income on childcare.

The kicker? The US Department of Health and Human Services says "affordable" childcare should be no more than 7% of your income.

Read on to find out more surprising childcare statistics, facts on infant childcare and the financial perks of "nanny sharing".

Childcare Cost Statistics

  • The national average price of childcare is estimated to be $9,100 to $9,600 per year.

  • According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, childcare is deemed affordable if it is less than 7% of the family income.

  • Roughly 72% of parents spend at least 10% of their household income on childcare.

  • The average single parent spends 36% of the total household income on childcare expenses for one child.

  • Working parents spend about 10.2% to 28.6%, sometimes more with multiple children, of their total income on infant childcare.

  • Average weekly childcare cost for an infant in a daycare center is $215.

  • More than half of family households spend at least $10,000 annually on childcare (this is more than the average annual cost of in-state college tuition.)

  • Childcare for children under 6 is generally more expensive than full day school for children over 6.

  • Average cost for infant childcare is generally higher than the household food and transportation expenses combined.

  • An estimate of 33% - 53% of children under 5 are cared for in "informal family" settings (via a friend or neighbor) because of the high costs of childcare.

  • The least affordable state for center-based childcare for infants is California.

  • The least affordable state for family childcare for an infant is Nebraska.

  • Childcare and education is generally more expensive in the urban Northeast part of the US.

  • New Jersey and North Dakota are among the most affordable states to get any childcare, whereas New Mexico is one of the least affordable states.

  • "Affordable" annual childcare can cost as low as $6,511 for infants or $6,349 for 4-year-olds in South Dakota which is equivalent to 10.2% of a parent's income.

  • "Expensive" childcare costs as much as $24,243 for infants or $19,112 for 4-year-olds in Washington DC which is equivalent to 28.6% of a parent's income.

  • Center-based care for children aged 4 can cost as high as $18,980 in DC to as low as $4,493 in Arkansas per year.

  • Early care and education for infants can cost as high as $24,081 in DC to as low as $5,760 in Mississippi per year.

  • The average annual childcare expense for 2 children (infant and 4 year old) in 2018 was $20,914 for the Midwest US, $26,102 for the Northeast, $21,327 for the West and $18,442 for the Southern regions.

  • Working parents in the US collectively lose about $30 to $35 billion in income due to high childcare and education expenses.

  • The US childcare crisis costs the economy about $57 billion each year in lost earnings, productivity and revenue.

  • Working families lose $36.9 billion each year due to unpaid family leave and the broken US childcare system.

  • About 65% of working parents have their schedules affected by childcare matters about 7.5 times in a span of six months.

  • American businesses lose $12.7 billion annually because of "childcare breakdowns" (i.e., sick child, snow days, etc.).

  • About 45% of working parents miss on average 4.3 days of work due to "childcare breakdowns" in a span of six months.

  • Childcare center workers earn about $11.17 per hour.

  • A center spends about $14,000 annually to provide childcare to an infant.

  • Infant childcare would cost about $201 for a family care center per week.

  • Families with children under 13 with certain income requirements receive childcare subsidies offered by their state. These subsidies vary state to state.

  • Working families are eligible for Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to get up to $600 tax savings on childcare expenses.

  • Eligible working parents can claim the child tax credit of up to $2000 for each child.

  • Some working families are eligible for a Flexible Spending Account which allows them to get as much as $2000 in tax savings on childcare expenses.

  • Several childcare centers offer sibling discounts if you register an additional child.

  • According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, only 1 in 7 eligible children were able to receive subsidies in 2015.

  • Infant childcare would cost about $565 for a nanny per week.

  • A 2020 survey reveals that the average annual cost of hiring a nanny is $29,380.

  • "Nanny sharing" saves you about a third of the cost of hiring your own nanny.

  • Based on the 2020 survey, nanny sharing with another family could potentially save you $97,93 a year.

  • Depending on where you live, nanny's hourly rates range from $12 to $26 or half per family, $6 to $13, for nanny sharing.

Cost of Childcare References

  • The national average price of child care is estimated to be around $9,100 to $9,600. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)
  • More than half of the family households spend at least $10,000 annually on child care which is more than the average annual cost of in-state college tuition. (Care.com, 2020)
  • According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, child care is deemed affordable if it is less than 7% of the family income. (Economic Policy Institute, 2020)
  • According to a survey, about 72% spend at least 10% of their household income on child care. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Working parents would spend about 10.2% to 28.6%, sometimes more with multiple children, of their total income on infant child care. (Economic Policy Institute, 2020)
  • The average single parent spends 36% of the total household income on child care expenses for one child. (Child Care aware of America, 2019)
  • Child care of children under 6 is generally more expensive than full day school of children over 6. (USDA, 2017)
  • The child care expenses for an infant is usually higher than both the household food and transportation expenses. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)
  • An estimate of about 33% to 53% of children under 5 are cared for in informal family, friend and neighbor settings because of the high costs of child care. (Child Care Aware of America, 2018)
  • Child care costs depends on factors like the location, child's age, available facilities and programs, required amount of care. (Care.com, 2020)

Childcare Costs Around the US

  • Child care and education is more expensive in the urban Northeast part of the US. (USDA, 2017)
  • Center-based care for children aged 4 can cost as high as $18980 in DC to as low as $4493 in Arkansas per year. (Economic Policy Institute, 2020)
  • Early care and education for infants can cost as high as $24,081 in DC to as low as $5,760 in Mississippi per annum. (Economic Policy Institute, 2020)
  • New Jersey and North Dakota are among the most affordable states to get any child care, whereas New Mexico is one of the least affordable states. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Affordable annual child care can cost as low as $6,511 for infants or $6,349 for 4-year-olds in South Dakota which is equivalent to 10.2% of a parent's income. (Economic Policy Institute, 2020)
  • Expensive child care costs as much as $24,243 for infants or $19,112 for 4-year-olds in Washington DC which is equivalent to 28.6% of a parent's income. (Economic Policy Institute, 2020)
  • The least affordable state for center-based child care for infants is California. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)
  • The least affordable state for family child care for an infant is Nebraska. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)
  • The average annual child care expense for 2 children (infant and 4 year old) in 2018 was $20914 for Midwest, $26,102 for Northeast, $21,327 for West and $18,442 for South regions. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)

Childcare and the Economy Statistics

  • Working parents lose about $30 to $35 billion of their income due to high child care and education expenses. (Economic Policy Institute, 2020)
  • The economy loses about $57 billion each year in lost earnings, productivity and revenue in relation to child care. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)
  • American businesses lose $12.7 billion annually because of child care breakdowns. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)
  • Working families lose $36.9 billion each year due to unpaid family leave and a broken child care system. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)
  • About 45% of working parents miss on average 4.3 days of work due to child care breakdowns in a span of six months. (Child Care Aware of America, 2018)
  • About 65% of working parents have their schedules affected by child care matters about 7.5 times in a span of six months. (Child Care Aware of America, 2018)

Childcare Centers Statistics

  • Child care center workers earn about $11.17 per hour. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)
  • A center spends about $14000 annually to provide child care to an infant. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)
  • Several child care centers offer sibling discounts if you register an additional child. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Infant child care would cost about $201 for a family care center per week. (Care.com, 2020)

Government Subsidies for Childcare

  • Families with children under 13 with certain income requirements receive child care subsidies offered by their state. These subsidies vary state to state. (Care.com, 2020)
  • The federal government provides child care subsidies to military families. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Working families are eligible for Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to get up to $600 tax savings on child care expenses. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Eligible working parents can claim the child tax credit of up to $2000 for each child. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Low and moderate income families can claim the Earned Income Tax Credit which may be up to several thousand dollars depending on the number of children and your filing status. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Some working families are eligible for a Flexible Spending Account which allows them to get as much as $2000 in tax savings on child care expenses. (Care.com, 2020)
  • According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, only 1 in 7 eligible children were able to receive subsidies in 2015. (Child Care Aware of America, 2019)

Nanny Cost Statistics

  • Infant child care would cost about $565 for a nanny per week. (Care.com, 2020)
  • A 2020 survey reveals that the average annual cost of hiring a nanny is $29380. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Nanny sharing saves you about a third of the cost of hiring your own nanny. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Based on the 2020 survey, nanny sharing with another family could potentially save you $9793 a year. (Care.com, 2020)
  • Depending on where you live, nanny's hourly rates range from $12 to $26 or half per family, $6 to $13, for nanny sharing. (Care.com, 2020)

Bottom Line

Childcare accounts for a large chunk in the overall cost of raising a child. If you have a little one on the way, be sure to factor in these expenses when setting your budget.

If you already have a child in your life, consider alternative methods to save money, like having family members help out when they can or "nanny sharing". You know what they say: it takes a village to raise a child.

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