Where the Cost of Child Care Outstrips College Tuition

What's Hot

How to Cut the Cable TV Cord in 2017Family

8 Major Freebies and Discounts You Get With Amazon PrimeSave

Study: People Who Curse Are More HonestFamily

8 Creative Ways to Clear ClutterAround The House

15 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar StoreMore

Pay $2 and Get Unlimited Wendy’s Frosty Treats in 2017Family

5 Reasons to Shop for a Home in DecemberFamily

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Should You Donate to Wreaths Across America? A Lesson in Charitable GivingAround The House

6 Reasons Why Savers Are Sexier Than SpendersCredit & Debt

Resolutions 2017: Save More Money Using 5 Simple TricksCredit & Debt

10 Free Things That Used to Cost MoneyAround The House

7 New Year’s Resolutions to Make With Your KidsFamily

10 Simple Money Moves to Make Before the New YearFamily

The 3 Golden Rules of Lending to Friends and FamilyBorrow

High-quality day care is out of reach for many families across the country, but the cost varies a lot from state to state, a study shows. Find out where your state ranks.

In more than half of the United States (33 states and Washington, D.C.), paying for child care is more expensive than college tuition.

That’s right. Depending on where you live, it’s cheaper to send a young adult to college than it is to send a 4-year-old to day care (or preschool).

The Economic Policy Institute recently released data about the cost of child care in the United States. The left-leaning think tank found that child care costs vary across regions and family types, accounting for the greatest variability in family budgets.

For example, if you have a 4-year-old, monthly child care costs range from $344 in South Carolina to $1,472 in Washington, D.C. The cost soars from there if you have more than one child in care. Says the EPI:

In the District of Columbia, monthly child care costs for a three-child household (with a 4-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 12-year-old) are $2,784 — nearly 90 percent higher than for a household with one child (a 4-year-old). Costs are particularly high for families with infants … center-based infant care costs range from $468 a month in Mississippi to $1,868 a month in the District of Columbia.

The Department of Health and Human Services considers child care affordable if it eats up less than 10 percent or less of a family’s income. According to the EPI, just two states — South Dakota and Wyoming — provide “affordable” child care for infants. Overall, in 40 U.S. states, the average child care expense for a family of four exceeds the 10 percent threshold.

“High-quality child care is out of reach for many families,” said EPI research assistant Tanyell Cooke. “This crisis is not limited to low-income families, nor is it unique to certain parts of the country. It affects everyone, in every state.”

Interestingly, though child care costs can seem exorbitant, child care workers are some of the lowest-paid workers in the United States. In fact, many child care workers earn so little each paycheck that they live in poverty. Read more here: “Why Are the People Entrusted With Our Kids Paid So Little?

My home state of Montana is one of the 33 states where day care is more expensive than in-state college tuition.

I pay about $400 a month for my 2-year-old son to go to a small family-based day care for a few hours in the mornings, Monday through Friday. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to find what I consider to be affordable child care.

Looking for ways to save on day care? Check out “13 Ways to Clip the Cost of Child Care.”

How much do you pay for day care? What do you think of the cost of child care in the United States? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Moms Turn to Crowdfunding to Pay for Maternity Leave

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,803 more deals!