U.S. News & World Report
Child care is one of the biggest expenses for working parents. In over half of states, full-time care for an infant costs more than college tuition, according to Child Care Aware of America, an organization that advocates for more affordable child care. But costs vary hugely depending on where you are in the country, from around $5,400 a year to take care of a 4-year-old in Mississippi to almost $17,000 a year in Massachusetts.
“A lot of parents would like to send their children to a formal, paid child care program, where they could get a really good foundation for kindergarten, but parents can’t afford what it would actually cost to provide that kind of care,” says Kristina Haynie, a data analyst at Child Care Aware.
What makes something affordable, of course, depends on how much a family makes and what kind of care they need. Caring for babies costs more than caring for toddlers, and a daycare center may charge more than someone offering care out of their home. In a report released in February, Child Care Aware ranked states by affordability by calculating the average price for full-time care in 2020 and comparing that to median incomes for single and married parents.