Working parents, beware: child care costs will eat up a huge part of your personal budget.
This is probably true anywhere, but where you live makes a big difference. Child care costs can vary widely by region. According to CNN’s guide to the most expensive states for child care, my home state of Massachusetts is the priciest in the nation. Cost of living here is high, but it’s not just a case of people having higher incomes and paying more dollars. The percentage of your household income that’s eaten up by day care here is higher than anywhere else.
Childcare here typically costs about sixteen percent of household income. At the other end of the spectrum, moms and dads in Mississippi pay just over seven percent of their incomes to have their little ones cared for while they work. Why the big gap?
Massachusetts is expensive because childcare workers are better paid here than anywhere else. We also regulate childcare businesses more stringently than just about anywhere, requiring 20 hours a year of professional development for teachers and a low 1 to 3 teacher-student ratio. That all adds up to great childcare, but expensive childcare.
New York comes in second. In addition to strict regulations and high overall cost of living, day care facilities in the Big Apple have to contend with astronomically high rents.
The other states on the top five list are, in order, Hawaii, Colorado and Minnesota. Hawaii makes sense; everything is expensive there. Colorado is a fairly posh state as well. But Minnesota? Their problem isn’t high cost of living, it’s low supply. The state has only about 1,000 licensed childcare centers.
According to this, top dollar for childcare is a little under $17,000 a year. What do you pay for day care? How does your state stack up against the rest of the country? You can see all the numbers here.