The latest studies show that child care costs in the U.S. have increased eight times faster than family income. That means some families have found child care costs to be the biggest chunk of their family spending, and other families have realized that a year's worth of child care costs are about the same as a year's worth of college tuition costs. (Ouch!)
Here are some of the report's other findings:
- Child care fees for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) in a child care center exceeded annual median rent payments in every state.
- In every region of the U.S., average child care fees for an infant in a child care center were higher than the average amount that families spent on food.
- In 31 states and the District of Columbia, the average annual average cost for an infant in center-based care were higher than a year's tuition and fees at a four-year public college.
So, this report has really resonated with me. At first I thought that there had to be a cheaper solution, but after reading the report it becomes clear that it isn't a option: Caregivers are already among the lowest-paid professionals in the U.S. I think about the kindhearted people who watch my son every day; the ones who have been there through potty training nightmares and on his days of great success. Yes, they deserve more money - there is no doubt about that.
But I also believe that education is important and should be available to everyone who wants it. So what's the answer?
Have you chosen your situation (stay-at-home mom/working mom) for a reason that is related to child care costs? If so, please share your story in the comments.