WASHINGTON – Paying for child care in half of the country exceeds the cost of going to college, according to a new report.
The Child Care Aware of America study released this week shows child care costs continue to rise across the U.S. In 36 states and D.C., the average annual cost of center-based day care services was more than one year of in-state tuition at a public college. In all states and D.C., care for two children, a baby and 4-year-old exceeded the average annual cost of rent.
In 2011, average costs ranged from $4,600 in Mississippi to $15,000 in Massachusetts for an infant, the report shows. For a 4-year-old child, that cost ranged from $3,900 to almost $11,700.
New York was ranked the least affordable state for an infant in day care, based on average cost compared with average median income for a two-parent family. Virginia and Maryland came out in the middle, ranking 27th and 23rd respectively.
D.C. was not given a number ranking, but an average of 14.3 percent of median incomes were spent on child care, which was just below eighth-ranked Illinois, which came in at 14.4 percent.