Child Care Costs Rise Faster than Income

Aug 03, 2010

By Danielle Ewen

Every day, newspapers report on the ongoing impact of the recession on families. Rarely, however, do they report on the cost of child care, often one of costliest items in a family budget.  In fact, since 2000, child care costs have risen twice as fast as median family income, according to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) which released the latest update in its ongoing research on the cost of care, Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2010 Update.

The annual report, which looks at how much parents pay for care for young children in a variety of settings in every state, found that the average cost of center-based care for an infant ranged from $4,550 to $18,750 across states, and the average cost of center-based care for a 4-year-old child ranged from $4,050 to $13,150. These high costs rival families' spending on food, rent, and mortgage payments, and the annual cost of child care exceeds the cost of state college tuition in 40 states.

ABC's Good Morning America featured the report, along with an interview with a parent who relies on child care assistance to pay for the care she needs to work. This mother is not alone. Child care assistance makes quality child care more affordable, supports the healthy development of children, and helps low-income parents access the child care they need to go to work or to school so that they can support their families.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee recently proposed increased funding of $1 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and the House Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee proposed a $700 million increase. Although these bills are just the first step in a long federal appropriations process, they indicate an understanding of the need for increased child care funding and the importance of these programs for states, local communities, and families.


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