Monday, September 6, 2010

Wisconsin ranks in top ten in child care costs: child care more expensive than college

Wisconsin ranks among the 10 most expensive states for child care in a new report from the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

The NACCRRA found that full-time care for an infant in the average Wisconsin child care center, at $10,520 per year, exceeds 13% of the annual median family income for a two-parent family, placing Wisconsin among 36 states for which the cost of infant care exceeds 10% of the median family income. For a family earning at the poverty line, full-time infant care would exceed 57% of annual income.

In addition, Wisconsin is 4th most expensive when the cost of center-based care for a 4-year-old is considered ($9,039 per year, or over 11% of the median family income) and 3rd most expensive for afterschool care for school-aged children ($8,223 per year, or over 10% of the median family income).

As someone who no longer needs full-time child care with last week's start of the school year, I was well aware of the cost. But I was quite surprised by the report's finding that child care has become one of the largest monthly outlays for Wisconsin families, costing more than the average monthly rent payment, grocery bill, utility bill, and even health care. In fact, average child care costs for two children exceed the average mortgage cost for Wisconsin families.

The good news, if you choose to see it that way, is that these Wisconsin families should have no problem affording college tuition when the time comes--they are already paying more for child care than they would for most of our state's public four-year universities.

1 comment:

LeftyMom said...

The sad part of this is that the increased prices we pay for childcare do not necessarily translate into higher quality care. I've found that finding affordable and appropriate afterschool and summer care for my schoolage children is a much greater challenge than finding care for them when they were infants and preschoolers.