Just How Unaffordable Is Child Care in the U.S.?
"Quality, affordable child care provides critical support to our nation's workforce and is one of the earliest learning settings our children will enter," said Lynette Fraga, Ph.D., executive director of Child Care Aware® of America, in a press release about this year's findings. "It's time to address the disparity between high care costs and low provider wages, and find a solution to what has become a crisis."
Among other things, the report looked at center-based care "based on the cost of child care as a percentage of state median income for a two-parent family" and found that in 2013, the 10 states with the least-affordable child care for infants in fulltime care were, in order: New York, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois, Nevada, California, and Kansas. For 4-year-olds, the least-affordable states were New York, Vermont, Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine.
Other key findings in this year's report:
Parents pay more for child care (for two kids) than they do for their mortgage in 23 states, plus Washington, D.C.; and parents who have both a baby and a 4-year-old in center-based child care pay more for that care than they do for rent in every state. And in every region of the U.S., families spend more on child care fees for an infant in center-based child care than they spend on food.
Tell us: How much do you spend on child care?
Image of child in day care: Shutterstock; Graphic: Child Care Aware of America