What Recession? Child Care Costs Kept Rising


Even though the country was mired in one of the worst economic downturns in a generation, the cost of child care kept going up, a new report says.

The cost of center-based care rose 1.9 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to a report from the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, and in one state parents spent as much as $18,200, on average, a year for infant care in a center.

Child care takes a big bite out of a family’s income. The cost of center-based care consumed more than 10 percent of the median income of a two-parent family in 40 states, the report said.

“Child care is essential to working families and working families are key to economic
growth,” Linda Smith, executive director of NACCRRA, said in a statement. “But, child care today is simply unaffordable for most families.”

Other interesting findings include:

  • The average annual cost of full-time care for an infant in a center in 2010 ranged from $4,650 in Mississippi to $18,200 in the District of Columbia.
  • In 36 states, the average annual cost for center-based care for an infant was higher than a year’s tuition and related fees at a four-year public college. – “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2011 Update,” 8/24/11.

The report also ranked the least-affordable states for center-based infant care, with the least affordable first: Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Colorado, Minnesota, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Montana and Pennsylvania. Washington ranked 11th. I am trying to figure out if these rankings incorporate child care subsidy levels.

If you can spare five minutes, check out this research.