Child Care Costs Rising Higher Than College Tuition

Parents are paying as much as $15,000 in some states, a new report says.

Posted: 08/22/2012 01:20 PM EDT
Child Care Costs Rising Higher Than College Tuition

Parents are paying more to leave their kids at day care centers than to drop them off at some colleges, says a new report.

Child Care Aware found in a 2012 report that in 35 states and the District of Columbia, the average cost for center-based care for an infant was higher than a year’s in-state tuition and fees at a four-year public college.

"Families need child care in order to work," said Ollie M. Smith, Child Care Aware’s interim executive director, in a press release. "But, child care today is simply unaffordable for too many families. This is not a low income issue. Families at nearly every income — except for the very wealthy — struggle with the cost of child care."

The 10 least-affordable states for full-time infant care in 2011 were New York, Minnesota, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Indiana and Wisconsin. The press release says:

According to the report, in 2011, the average annual cost of full-time child care for an infant in a center ranged from about $4,600 in Mississippi to nearly $15,000 in Massachusetts. The average annual cost of full-time care for a 4-year-old child in a center ranged from about $3,900 in Mississippi to nearly $11,700 in Massachusetts. In New York, parents of school-age children paid nearly $11,000 a year for part-time care in a center. The report also found that in 2011, the average annual cost of full-time care for an infant in a family child care home ranged from $4,500 in South Carolina to nearly $10,400 in New York. The average annual cost for a 4-year-old in a family child care home ranged from $4,100 in South Carolina to about $9,600 in New York.

Child Care Aware hopes the findings will increase efforts to ensure that children of low-income families are provided quality child care and that all children start school ready to learn.

 

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