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What Should Daycare Cost?

What Should Daycare Cost?

It stands to reason that you'll pay more for infant care than the going rate in the toddler room. Infants require more attention.

But should an infant's care cost more than what you pay for a roof over your head?

"Once our second child is born and we've got two in daycare, we'll be paying more for daycare each month than what our mortgage costs," writes Angela G. in the Working Moms community.

According to a 2010 study by the National Association of Child Care Resource Referral Agencies, center-based daycare for two children is indeed more expensive than housing, whether you pay rent or a mortgage payment, in many areas of the United States.


Startling as that may be, the survery also discovered that daycare is taking more than its fair share of a family's budget. In the past ten years, the cost of child care has increased twice as fast as the median family income.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services recommends that child care cost a family no more than 10 percent of its income. This guideline isn't even getting lip service in 37 states where center-based care for an infant is greater than ten percent of a two-parent household's income. For single parent families, the picture is even grimmer. In all 50 states, infant care costs more than what the federal government recommends, according to the NACCRRA study.

Alison L, a mom of two, is one parent who weights the cost of child care against the income she receives from her job.

"You've got to look at the cost relative to your income," she posts in the Working Moms community. "Add up all the costs associated with your job, compare it to your actual income. Our daily rate is about one-third my hourly wage (it is government funded). I find that puts things in perspective much more than looking at the monthly total."

That monthly total depends on where you live, as exact costs vary significantly from region to region.

The NACCRRA's study Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2010 Update is a compilation of average cost-of-childcare data from 99 percent of the nation's inhabited postal zip codes. Information from more than 700 state and local child care referral agencies in included in the report.

According to the report, costs are higher in more densely-populated areas and lower in rural locations. For instance, the NACCRRA's survery reveals that the annual yearly cost of center-based infant care in Massachusetts averages $18,750 versus $4,550 in Mississippi.

The states with the most costly care are Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Washington, D.C. is also included.

"We pay $165 a week for my son," writes Lauren S., a mom in Minnesota who is a member of the Working Moms community. "Minnesota is one of the most expensive states for childcare. Centers costs about $1,000 a month and in-home costs about $600 a month for infants."

The least expensive states are Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas, Idaho, North Dakota, South Carolina, Kansas and Alabama, according to the NACCRRA study.

For Jackie T., living in the Midwest pays off in terms of child care costs.

The Kansas mom pays $70 a week for her three-year-old son's care. If she isn't working a particular week, holding his spot costs only $20.

Not all working mothers have landed such a sweet deal.

Below are costs moms posting from around the country report:

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
TabithaHall80311 TabithaHall80311 5 years
I'm a family home child care provider in Tn. I charge 110.00/infants, 100.00/until potty trained, and 90.00/potty trained.. Please remember we have alot of expenses, no health insurance, or retirement.
angelreeves21863 angelreeves21863 6 years
I dont trust daycare bc we never know what if they do something wrong with the kids. i just heard from the news that daycare are bad......
JessicaZamora99503 JessicaZamora99503 6 years
I pay $203 per week full time for my toddler.
StephanieDickson32493 StephanieDickson32493 6 years
As a teacher and child care provider in my home I would like to comment about the way this article refers to child care as daycare... Is the person you hire to care for the most vulnerable members of your family really taking care of the day or is she or he caring for, teaching and providing for your child. I am insensed that people think paying 160 a week or more depending on your geographic location is too much! What are you looking for? Someone to just make sure your child is alive at the end of each day or someone who takes the next steps with your child, teaching them, encouraging them and helping them develop into the strong little people they can be? Honestly, 160 a week for a 45 to 50 hr week is less than $4.00/hr. to ask someone to educate your child in his/her most critical period of brain development...
MelindaFowles MelindaFowles 6 years
I am the owner and director of a small child care facilty in Midcoast Maine as well as the mother of 4. I read this article and was astounded at the rate some centers are charging. I understand that quality care costs more, but really isn't providing quality care about the child and not the money? Our full time cost for an infant WITH formula included is $145. That some places are charging 3x that amount is horrid. It's about the children, not the money. Or at least it is for me.
ShaleenMartin ShaleenMartin 6 years
As a Mom and daycare provider I understand both ends of the subject. But to those who don't realize it, small, in-home daycare providers make as little as $2 to $3 an hour for one of the most difficult jobs out there! Plus, we work 10 to 12 hrs a day! Compare daycare prices to a Nanny and you will understand the deal you get with a provider.
JenniMcGee JenniMcGee 6 years
I am a child care provider. I think you need to look at what is being paid for. Does that provider have a license? What type of space does she have and what is included in the rate. Is there a curriculum for all ages. I personally charge one flat rate for all ages. Children are always in need of my assistance. I go over and beyond to make sure I am giving the best care to all children and treat them like my own. If respect is given it comes back ten fold.I like keeping long term care for as long as one client needs me services. I am so lucky to be respected so much. My clients now vacation with me and us moms occasionally have scrapbooking events together. I love what I do and my clients find I am worth what I charge. I am in a state that has been mentioned to be one of the highest paying services. That doesn't mean I am one of those in that rate though. I feel that if you are happy then it is worth the price. Your children should be the most important little people in your life. If you pick them up the same way you left them and they are happy and don't want to leave and give genuine love back to their provider I would pay what I needed to to be happy myself.
HeatherYounghusband HeatherYounghusband 6 years
There is also the other side of the story to consider. A childcare provider typically gets paid $3.75 per hour per child. If a provider wishes to make any kind of money to live on and provider a roof over his/her head then that provider must take on approximatley 5 children in one day to care for (this is the maximum number of children allowed in a homecare setting). This still only works out to roughly $500.00-$600.00 weekly. Not alot. It is appauling how much and what people are willing to spend money on (vacations, dinners out, spa days, shopping trips etc.) but when it comes to paying for someone to care for their child that is when all the grumbling and complaining begins. You pay for the care you get. I have large respect for any childcare provider and the thankless jobs they have!!!!
ChristinaCline23528 ChristinaCline23528 6 years
We pay $1200 a month... full time care for a 4 year old and after-school care three days a week for a 7 year old... When they were both in daycare, it was $1600 a month...
AliahHenry AliahHenry 6 years
I live in Texas - 1 week full time care is $190 and 2 day full time is $120 .... we currently have our 2 1/2 year old in daycare 2 days a week
TammyEckard TammyEckard 6 years
While child care for my two children ages 9months and 2-1/2 years is about $1200/month in North Carolina, I wouldn't think of changing to a less expensive day care. I believe in the quality care that my children are given. It hurts to write that check every month but I am fortunate to feel that each day in my absence my children are well cared for and are learning. I wish it were cheaper but the teachers at my sons day care deserve every penny.
MamaMia38846 MamaMia38846 6 years
I'm paying my daycare provider $1400 per month to watch my 2 yr old, 3 yr old and 4th grader....
JacqueJonesCalico JacqueJonesCalico 6 years
I charge $135/week for 6 weeks to 4 years in Tulsa OK. I have 20 years experience, CDA, and Two-Star facility!!
KristinaBennett9873 KristinaBennett9873 6 years
I make minimum wage working in a childcare facility, but I love my job and that is what makes it worth my time. I have five children with only one in childcare. I get a discount of 50%, which means I pay $75.50 a week. I wouldn't trade her teachers for anything. I know she is getting the best care possible because I cannot afford to be at home with her. As a teacher, I am not a babysitter; I DO teach. I am also in school FULL time earning my bachelors degree in early childhood education. Childcare is expensice but there is A LOT that goes into in when it is a childcare center. Most of the people I know who provide private care are in it for the money, but that is not to say that they don't provide quality care. But when you pay alot of money for quality care, you want to make sure it is the best and that your child's teachers are working in this field because they truly love their job; if not, they don't need to be there.
MrsO80285 MrsO80285 6 years
Just a question...What does the term "mom" mean today? She is a woman who is expected by society to hold more roles then really capable of doing all of them well. How can a mom really mother properly when her children are gone from her for hours at a time day after day? When considering the cost of daycare, one should not be thinking only of the monetary sacrifice but also the relational sacrifice. In recent decades women have been taught that career is more important than the children they have been blessed with to train and care for at home. So many of us could be at home with our kids if we were only willing to make the sacrifices we make with our children to have our careers and sending them to daycare! Now there is total understanding for mothers who have no other option but to work. These statements are made for mothers who could stay with their children, but have been fed the lie from society that there is not as much worth being at home with your kids. So one last question...What have you missed? The fact that a daycare provider will typically spend more time with a child than a mom will in their young years says so much about how much we as mothers have been led to believe a lie. That our children will be fine without us as long as they are getting well cared for. No one can fully replace you, no matter how much you are willing to pay.
AmandaMowery AmandaMowery 6 years
I am an in-home daycare provider in a small rural area. The going rate in this area for in-home care is between $15 and $20 dollars a day, depending on whether parents or providers provide meals. It is difficult to balance what is fair to ask a parent to pay and to make a living at this job. I have mostly part time clients. I have been told to charge parents a set weekly fee whether I have their children or not - keeping the space. I haven't done that yet. It makes budgeting difficult but I don't want parents bringing their children to me and working an extra shift to pay the rate if they could be spending the day with their children instead. I was amazed when I started providing care at the going rate of daycare centers and other daycare providers in the area. There is no way I could afford to work and pay the rates. I'm grateful to have family support that makes it possible for me to stay home and be with my own two children and operate the daycare from my home. I wish all parents who wanted to be home could.
JennaLiming JennaLiming 6 years
Following my previous post of $1200/month and to clarify, that is what I am paying in Harker Heights, TX. In Houston, I payed $2000/month and that was the average! That doesn't include the extra cost of mothers day out or a part time pre-pre-school program for my 2 year old so she can have some interaction with other children and be challenged academically. As the saying goes, "You get what you pay for", certainly rings true in this situation.
JennaLiming JennaLiming 6 years
In-home Nanny care full-time for a 2-year old and a newborn is $1200.
MonicaAnderson66466 MonicaAnderson66466 6 years
It's amazing how much day care cost. I stayed home for a couple of years but my husband lost some of his contracts so I had to go back to work. My oldest is now in elementary school but I am paying for my youngest in pre-school and still pay $600 per month. When they were infants, home care was $250/month for infants in home case and $275/month for center-based care. Now, I think it's almost double and my oldest is only 8 years old. It's amazing to me what we have to pay but at the same time, my children are the most important thing in the world. So, how much is too much for their care, their education, their development. I wish that we lived in a world where we did not have to choose between our careers, our livelihood, and being at home with our children. Why can't we have both? I have two daughters and hope that they have the opportunity to raise their children while working in the career that they love. For all the talk, there are very few jobs for women who want to raise her children while maintaining her career. What ever happened to job-sharing? We live in metropolitan Baltimore and I can't find a decent job making what I made before coming home, much less a job-sharing opportunity. I'm making what I thought that I'd be making job-sharing, therefore cutting my daycare costs. I look forward to a time when we can combat this issue and make daycare beneficial for all involved - caregivers, parents and especially our children.
VeronikaImprenta VeronikaImprenta 6 years
As a childcare provider I can tell you that you must do your research. I am credentialed, with an AA in the field, and eleven years experience... I charge 180 pt and 225 ft ALL INCLUSIVE! Pay for the quality of the caregiver... the experience of staff... and the effectiveness of the program.
TanjaSchmeckenbecher TanjaSchmeckenbecher 6 years
I guess I should move, my 18 mos and 3 year old cost me 1800 a months and that was one of the cheaper better centers here in Cleveland Heights Ohio area. Going down by 200 bucks got you in the nos pace, no outside play space and TV time on the list.
AmandaStaelens AmandaStaelens 6 years
I dont know why alaska isnt on this list. I got quoted 1500 a month for my one yr old and 2 yr old. And that's the average.
InesYounkins InesYounkins 6 years
I opted not to go back to work, as the daycare here in Maryland was going to be 2/3 of my salary. Effectively not making it worth at all to have a job. Even though I have a good education and experience I was not able to find a higher paying job in these hard economic times. I was looking at home based daycare. One lady was going to watch 8 kids, and the question that came up was, can she really safely watch 8 kids (various ages) and how much money does she need to make, if everyone was paying as much as I was supposed to pay? Mom friends told me that the rates were average though. Well, I would rather be with my own child instead of being away from her all day and worry about her. For no money to boot. It's just stupid and doesn't add up. So my husband works and we just tightened our belt some, since we don't have two incomes as we used to.
DanicaPotier DanicaPotier 6 years
Wow, I wish we had some of those tuition rates mentioned above! In Wisconsin, we pay weekly $290/child up to 2 years old and $270/child 2-4years in an accredited daycare center. We love themand wouldn't trade it for a lesser quality of care, but it's mind boggling to cost that much. This is very average for the city we live in.
sandinutty sandinutty 6 years
I am many years past the daycare issue. The figures are startling. One way to look at the issue is that investing in your careers while paying for daycare will pay off in the long run when you no longer have that expense. However that dosen't help pay the bills during those early years. Hope you explore this issue some more. Maybe other mom's have ideas about reducing the cost without sacrificing quality of care.
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