How Much Does Child Care Cost U.S. Families?

Despite largely stagnant wages in the U.S., the cost of child care continues to rise. Find out how American families are making ends meet.

More than half (54 percent) of U.S. families spend more than 10 percent of their income on child care. It’s a significant and growing expense that now rivals the cost of housing.

That’s according to Care.com’s third annual Cost of Care Survey. In a press release,  Katie Bugbee, global parenting expert and senior managing editor of Care.com, says:

“The cost of child care is one of the top three expenses for families, falling next to housing costs and far exceeding college education.”

According to Care.com, these are the national averages for weekly child care for one child:

  • Child care center: $196
  • Nanny: $556.80
  • After-school sitter (15 hours a week): $214.05

Child care costs are gobbling up one-quarter of the household budget for 1 in 5 U.S. families. In fact, nearly 30 percent of families are shelling out $15,000 or more a year for child care.

Here are other highlights from the Care.com survey:

  • Couples waiting to have kids: Care.com says 21 percent of couples — and 26 percent of millennial couples — have put off having kids due to the high cost of child care.
  • More couples budgeting for care costs: Roughly 3 out of 4 survey respondents said they budget for child care today. That’s an increase from 58 percent in 2014.
  • Costs going up for families: Half of families say their child care costs are on the rise. About 40 percent say costs have increased by $1,000 or more per year, while 15 percent say they’re ponying up an extra $5,000 or more for child care annually.
  • More families in debt: To pay for child care, 1 in 4 U.S. families say they’ve gone into debt — or further into debt.

Check out “13 Ways to Clip the Cost of Child Care.”

How much do you pay for child care? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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