Child-care costs can exceed rent payments for the average American family, according to a
new study by Child Care Aware of America, an advocacy group working to increase affordable child care in the U.S.
The report, which analysed 2012 survey data, found that daycare fees for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) exceeded annual median rent payments in every state in the U.S. last year. What’s more, it found that average daycare costs for an infant were higher than the average family spent on food and, in 31 states and D.C., higher than a year’s tuition and fees at a four-year public college.
As child-care costs rise, parents are struggling to keep up. Quentin Fottrell at MarketWatch reports that child-care costs have grown at eight times the rate of household income in the past year.
“Escalating child-care costs are part of a long-term trend as the use of organised daycare centres has risen,” writes Fottrell. “Child-care payments for families with employed mothers have risen 50% from 2002 to 2011 and 250% over the last three decades, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”
Daycare costs vary greatly by state. Last year, the average annual cost for a 4-year-old was $US4,312 in Mississippi and $US12,355 in New York, according to the Child Care Aware report.
Meanwhile, the least affordable states for two-parent families with a child in daycare full-time are: Oregon, New York, Minnesota, Vermont, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Washington, Rhode Island, and Illinois.