You won’t find a simple answer to this problem. There are multiple variables to take into account, and these are just a few of them:
- How many hours a week your child spends in childcare
- Your child’s age
- What type of childcare you choose
- Where you live
The bottom line will be determined in the end mostly by where you live. Take St. Louis, for example, where Nanny care will cost a lot less than in Manhattan, and that is simply because St. Louis has a lower cost for living and so are most of the wages. And when you talk about daycare, in someone’s home or in a center, you could notice prices that are double or triple per month in a big city compared to a cheaper area. For the best prices, choose the type of daycare that you prefer and then look locally, check with friends or known caregivers near your home to determine the local prices.
Don’t think that being your child’s full-time caregiver will be way cheaper, there are costs that come with this situation too – one of the most important is the fact that it will be very hard to keep a steady job and take care of your child full time.
How much do daycare centers cost?
Childcare for babies and toddlers
A known fact is that if your child is a baby or a toddler, the daycare center will be more expensive. That’s mainly because kids this age need a lot more care and the center must hire a bigger staff. The average cost of center-based daycare in the United States is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly), according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). Parents reported bigger costs that can go to $2,000 a month for infant care – in cities like San Francisco and Boston.
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States that are on the top of the charts, with costs that can go over $10,000 per year for daycare, are the following: Massachusetts, New York, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, California, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
At the other side, the least expensive states for childcare are Mississippi ($4,650 a year on average for an infant or toddler), Kentucky ($6,500), and South Carolina ($5,850).
Childcare for preschoolers
In general, the daycare price for preschool-age children will be cheaper, with an average of $8,800 a year ($733 a month). You’ll pay anywhere from $4,460 to $13,185 a year ($371 to $1,100 a month), depending on your local area.
The least expensive states for preschool-age care in a childcare center, with costs ranging from less than $4,000 a year ($333 a month) to around $7,000 a year are Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Idaho, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Alabama.
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The most expensive states for preschool-age care in a childcare center, featuring costs of over $8,000 a year ($667 a month), beginning with the most expensive, are Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.
To find out more about daycare options and costs in your area, contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency. More than 850 CCR&R agencies throughout the country provide families with information about local childcare options and resources.
To find an agency near you, call the hotline at (800) 424-2246 or visit the Child Care Aware website
Should the average working Joe pay for daycare?
If both parents have full-time jobs or if you don’t have enough time to take care of your child, then it should be a great idea to pay for daycare. If you don’t have enough money to pay for daycare in full, then it could be a better idea to find a close relative to take care of your children, but be sure to pick someone you trust, a responsible person that knows how to raise children.