New Findings: Child Care Prices Continue to Rise as Supply Remains Stagnant

May 15, 2024

Child Care Aware® of America Survey Shows a 3.7% Bump in Average Child Care Prices

ARLINGTON, VA, May 15, 2024 — America’s child care supply remains flat, while child care prices continue to increase, according to a new report released today by Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) that highlights the burden families face accessing quality and affordable child care to participate in the workforce.

While the number of child care centers rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, the supply did not continue to grow in 2023, according to the report, Child Care at a Standstill, which incorporates annual survey data. Child care supply has long been insufficient and the pandemic exacerbated that challenge.

In addition, the national average price for child care rose 3.7% to $11,582 from 2022 to 2023 – a price that exceeds many family household expenses like rent. Child care is so expensive that it takes 10% of a married couple with children’s median household income or 32% of a single parent with children’s median household income to afford a year of child care at the average national price.

“America’s child care sector is at a standstill but it doesn’t have to be. Real progress is possible. We can make changes to grow the supply of child care and save families money – just look at successful pandemic-era investments in child care,” said Susan Gale Perry, Chief Executive Officer of CCAoA. “We must challenge the broken business model of our current child care system and move forward to prioritize sustainable state and federal funding increases and policy changes in support of improving quality, accessibility and affordability while fortifying the workforce.”

CCAoA’s Child Care at a Standstill report also found:

  • Between 2022 and 2023, the number of licensed child care centers in America increased by 1.3% from 91,582 to 92,786. But there was a decrease in the number of family child care (FCC) homes – following a downward trend of recent years. During the one-year period, 1% fewer FCC homes were open – from 94,955 to 94,227.
  • In 45 states plus the District of Columbia, the average annual price of child care for two children in a center exceeded annual mortgage payments from 1% to 64%.
  • In all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the price of center-based care for two children exceeded average annual rent payments by 25% to over 100%.
  • In 39 states plus the District of Columbia, the average annual price of child care for an infant in a center exceeded annual, in-state university tuition by 1% to over 100%.

CCAoA supports policy changes that include investing in child care and building supply through strategies such as grants to providers, support for workforce compensation, and improvements to payment practices in the child care subsidy system.

The full 2023 Child Care at a Standstill report can be found on the CCAoA website:

Written by CCAoA