If you feel like child care costs are out of control, new research says you’re right. Most U.S. families struggle to afford it, according to Care.com’s 10th annual Cost of Care Report. They asked 3-thousand parents with kids under the age of 14 how much they pay for professional child care and found that across the country, families are spending an average of 27% of their household income on child care expenses.
Key findings from the report include:
- Child care costs have continued to rise for the 10th year in a row.
- Two-thirds of families are spending 20% or more of their annual household income on child care, up from 51% in 2022.
- But according to the Department of Health and Human Services, child care is considered affordable when it costs no more than 7% of their household income.
- 59% of parents expect to spend more than $18-thousand per kid on child care costs this year.
- The most expensive state for child care in all categories (daycare, nanny and babysitter) is Washington, D.C. The average weekly rate for a nanny there is $885 a week, for a babysitter it’s $194 a week, and for daycare it’s $417 a week for infants.
- The cheapest state for a nanny is Mississippi at $579 a week, for daycare it’s Arkansas at $128 a week for an infant, and West Virginia has the least expensive babysitters at an average of $135 for a weekly rate.
- Aside from the expense, accessibility is another issue, as 75% of parents say there are fewer than six daycare centers within a 20-minute drive from their home.
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of parents have been waitlisted at daycare centers, while 49% have had to wait more than three months for a spot to become available.
- So it’s not surprising that 30% of parents say it’s harder to find child care providers than it was last year.