Study: Child care costs dip into college savings

WASHINGTON — Child care is so expensive that many parents are unable to save for their kids’ college educations, a new study finds.

In D.C., monthly child care costs average $1,472 a month for just one child, the highest in the country, a new study by the Economic Policy Institute finds.

In 33 states and the District, it’s cheaper to pay in-state college tuition than send a 4-year-old to day care. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that a family with two children spend no more than 10 percent of their income on child care; almost nowhere in the U.S., the study finds, are families able to meet the threshold.

The EPI study is based on taxes, average wages and cost of living totals. It looks at how much families put toward child care costs.

The report finds that child care isn’t affordable for minimum-wage workers. The high cost of child care means that a full-time minimum-wage worker with one child falls far below the family budget threshold in all 618 family budget areas — even after adjusting for higher state and city minimum wages.

And across regions and family types, the study finds, child care costs account for the greatest variability in family budgets.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report.

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