New Report Finds that Increases in the Price of Child Care Continue to Exceed the Rate of Inflation

October 13, 2022

Child Care in 2021 Was More Expensive than Other Household Expenses 

Such as Housing and Health Care 

ARLINGTON, VA, October 13, 2022 — Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) today released Price of Care: 2021 Child Care Affordability, which outlines the continuing increases in the price of child care across the United States. 

The report highlights survey data that shows that child care prices outpaced inflation in 2021 for the third consecutive year. In 2021, the average annual inflation rate was higher than usual at 4.7%, but child care prices rose by an average of 5% when compared to 2020 prices. This means families with children were more likely to struggle to afford child care on top of essentials such as food, housing and transportation. 

“Parents continue to face the challenge of finding and affording high-quality child care,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CCAoA Chief Executive Officer. “Recent public investments in child care have been a lifeline and helped keep programs open. But robust, long-term public support is needed to make child care affordable for families and ensure more children have access to high-quality early learning experiences to prepare them for success in school and beyond.”   

“Child care is slipping farther and farther out of reach for parents who can’t find or afford the care they need," said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). "The child care crisis is holding families and our entire economy back, and we can't stop working to fix it. In Congress, I’m fighting each and every day to invest in child care, lower costs for families, expand parents’ options, and support child care workers.” CCAoA’s Price of Care report found that in 2021: 

  • The national average price of child care was around $10,600 annually. This would comprise 10% of a married-couple family’s average annual income and 35% of a single parent’s income.  
  • In most states, the price of child care for two children in a center-based program exceeded annual housing payments by 28% to over 100%. 
  • Similarly, the price of child care for an infant in a center-based program exceeded annual in-state tuition at a public university in 34 states.  
  • Child care for two children in a center-based program was more expensive than most other household expenses, such as housing and health care, in all U.S. regions.  

 The report also includes a Child Care Affordability Analysis, with state-by-state data on:  

  • Average annual child care prices for different child age groups and provider types.  
  • Comparison of child care prices to household expenses. 
  • Percent of income needed to cover the average price of child care. 

The full Price of Care: 2021 Child Care Affordability report and the Child Care Affordability Analysis can be found on the CCAoA website at

Topics: Press Release

Written by CCAoA