DC is most expensive place in US for child care, survey finds

As child care costs rise in the U.S., a Care.com survey of 3,003 adults finds that D.C. is the most expensive place for child care.

The survey found that the average weekly rate for a nanny in the District is $855, and that’s 23% above the national average. The weekly average for day care is $419, which is 85% above the national average.

Maryland is eighth on the list of most expensive states for day care.

Here are the top 10 most expensive states for day care.

State Weekly Rate $ Above National Avg % Above National Avg
1. District of Columbia $419 $193 85%
2. Massachusetts $324 $98 44%
3. Washington $304 $78 34%
4. California $286 $60 26%
5. Connecticut $258 $33 14%
6. New York $258 $32 14%
7. Arkansas $255 $29 13%
8. Maryland $254 $28 12%
9. Colorado $254 $28 12%
10. Oregon $249 $23 10%

Child care has been more expensive over the past year for 63% of parents surveyed, and 59% said they’re more concerned about the cost of child care than in years prior.

Fifty-one percent of parents said they spend more than 20% of their household income on child care. However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, child care is affordable when it costs families no more than 7% of their household income.

The survey cites the pandemic and economic struggles as two reasons child care costs have increased. It also said nearly 9,000 day cares closed in 37 states between December 2019 and March 2021.

But even before those centers closed, D.C. was the most expensive place for child care costs in 2019.

The survey also finds that more than half of families (58%) plan to spend more than $10,000 on child care this year, which is more than the average annual cost of in-state college tuition ($9,349) according to EducationData.org.

The survey said families are cutting back on vacations and travel, in addition to food, dining and clothing because of these high child care prices. It also finds that many parents are considering taking on a second job, reducing their hours at work or leaving the workforce entirely.

The survey includes tips on saving money on child care, such as finding the best care for your budget, discussing care benefits with your employer, setting aside pretax dollars to pay for care and making the most of tax breaks and benefits

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