New study: Child care costs more than a year of attending college in most states

Young Children Playing at Montessori/Pre-School

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) — A new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, (IWPR) proves what everyone already knew, that child care is expensive.

The report which looks at the cost of child care across the U.S. found that “in the majority of states and the District of Columbia, the annual costs of center care for an infant are higher than the costs of attending a year of college at a public university, and in 22 states and the District of Columbia, the costs exceed 40 percent of the median annual income of single mothers.”

Here are some other key findings that you need to know:

1. What you can afford does affect the type of care your child can receive, “indeed, lower relative costs of center care may simply reflect lower quality, such as high ratios of children to staff, larger group sizes, and lack of requirements for teacher certification.”

2. For most, child care is not optional, “mothers’ earnings make a major contribution to their family’s income. In half of all families, they are the sole provider or, in married couples, contribute at least 40 percent of family earnings.”

3. Daycare costs have climbed, “between 1985 and 2011, the weekly out-of-pocket expenditure on child care for families with an employed mother almost doubled in real terms (U.S. Census Bureau 2013).”

Michigan single moms account for more than 50 percent of female breadwinners and married women account for more than 30 percent.

Work Family Appendix

To help you keep money in your pocket, we’ve included a few child care money saving tips from Care.com:

1. Talk to your employer
Before spending your own money, talk to your employer to see if they offer any benefits or assistance for child care.

2. Utilize the child care tax credit.
The annual cap is $6,000 a family per year.

3. Choose daycare over a nanny
Daycare can be a more affordable option than a nanny that is accessible throughout the day.

4. Exchange babysitting responsibilities with another parent
If you and another parent you know work different shifts, consider sharing child care responsibilities.

 

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