You Won't Believe How Much Parents Spend on Child Care, According to a New Survey

Child care takes a big bite out of many families' income. How much does daycare or a nanny take out of your budget?

Cost of Child Care
Photo: Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock

We know that child care is expensive. In fact, one recent report found that some parents are spending more on child care, than college! Now, an enlightening new survey reveals that more than one third of parents are shelling out 20 percent of their income on care for their kiddos.

The fourth annual's Cost of Care Survey looked at the child care habits of over 1,000 moms and dads across the country. Here are some of the stats researchers uncovered:

  • More than half of parents say they spend too much on child care.
  • 40 percent of parents claim child care costs cause tension in their relationship (likely as a result of financial stress).
  • Nearly three-quarters of parents budget for child care, but one third can't stick within their budget.
  • 63 percent of parents say child care costs influenced their career decisions; many ask for a more flexible work schedule, go to part-time, or even stay home to save money on care.
  • 73 percent of working parents say their job was affected because of child care plans not working out at the last minute (something many of us can totally understand).
  • 64 percent of working parents say they had to use sick days as a result of care falling through.
  • 85 percent of working parents wish their employer offered child care benefits.
  • 68 percent of families say the current tax deduction they receive from the Dependent Care FSA isn't enough to have a meaningful impact on their child care costs.
  • Nearly half of parents wish the U.S. would subsidize child care costs like other countries do.

This stat makes me especially sad: 20 percent of families say they had fewer children than they would have liked because of the high cost of child care, according to the report.

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Another metric the survey looked at was how affordable child care is by state. New Hampshire is most affordable for hiring a nanny, according to, while Mississippi is the least affordable. North Dakota is the most affordable state for daycare, and the District of Columbia is the least. And consider this: The average cost of center-based day care for infants is about $10,468 per year, while for toddlers, it's $9,733. A nanny costs more on average, at $28,905.

No matter how you slice it, child care is expensive, and clearly a huge area of concern for many parents. You can see the full report here. How have child care costs impacted your life?

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger/mom. Find her on Facebook and Instagram where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.

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