For most parents in the US, daycare is one of the largest weekly expenses. High daycare costs per week can really add up. For families with more than one kid, the amount is sometimes larger than even the monthly mortgage payment. In 24 states, childcare costs more than tuition.
According to the US Census Bureau, daycare costs in US have almost doubled in the last 25 years. Policy makers suggest that daycare costs shouldn’t be more than 10% of a household budget. But daycare usually costs parents about 30% of their income.
The only adverse effect of this ever rising daycare cost may be that many women now choose to be stay-at-home mom’s. Some argue this is best for the baby.
Alternatively, some parents leave their careers to save money on daycare costs. It’s a challenge when daycare costs can reverse any money made at a job. But for people with several kids, this may be the case.
Why Your Weekly Daycare Costs Might Be so High
If you would like to know why daycare is costing you so much, you need to take into account of the following factors:
The State in Which You Live
The most important factor is the state and the city which you live. It is not difficult to understand that states with high cost of living are costly in all aspects, including childcare. Some of the most expensive states are New York, Colorado, Massachusetts, California, and Washington. That’s pretty on-par with what you’d expect. Except Washington is a little surprising.
Childcare costs for infants and toddlers are the highest as they need constant attention. As a child grows, costs decrease with age. National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) estimates that for babies and toddlers, the average cost of center-based daycare is $243 weekly. The average cost of daycare for a 4-year-old, pre school child is $183.25 weekly. Quite a difference. We’ll get into more numbers down below.
Type of Childcare Facility
The level of daycare is an important factor to consider. For example, licensed daycare centers are generally more expensive than those that are non-licensed. Hiring a nanny is the most expensive option.
Understandably, the cost of daycare varies almost proportionately to the number of hours you keep your child under the care of others. But if you are lucky, you will find centers that offer discounts on the total daycare cost for full day kids and also when siblings stay in the same facility.
Daycare Costs per Week by State and Age Group
The following list shows the average full-time weekly center-based daycare cost in different states for various age groups.
Source: Child Care Aware of America, a non-profit organization based in the United States.
|State||Infant||4 Year Old||School Age|
|District of Columbia||$422.07||$325.15||$254.05|
The figures for some states are really scary. So, if you are living in any of such states, definitely keep reading this article…
Suggestions for Reducing Weekly Childcare Costs
- Search around for the cheapest daycare using what I call ‘The Pool Rule‘
- Use a daycare that offers discounts for each additional child and keep all children at the same daycare
- Get a daycare that’s either close to home or on route to where you work. This will save time and fuel money picking up and dropping off.
- Find an in-home daycare that is relatively new. The prices will likely be low and you won’t have to worry about getting all of your children admitted if it’s not yet popular.
- Reach out to family/friends. Sometimes your family or a friend will watch your child for free. You could also exchange childcare. Your friend could watch your kids one week and you could watch them the next. You may not be able to have a full time career doing this but you could generate great income on the side.