When you’re going through the motions of having a baby, no one tells you about all of the little expenses you will accrue. People warn you about needing an endless supply of diapers, but as much advice as you get, nothing quite prepares you for parenthood and all of the new necessities money will need to be spent on. And figuring out the average cost of daycare in the US will only make things more complicated for your bank account.
When it all comes down to it, the cost of daycare can fluctuate depending on a few key variables. There are center-based childcare facilities as well as home-based daycares, for example. And while some parents might need all-day care, others might only need a few days a week. Plus, some parents might need even longer hours for childcare depending on their own work schedules.
But on average, it costs $1,230 per month to send one child to a daycare center. If you opt to send your child to an in-home daycare, it costs an average of $800 per month for one child. Of course those costs could be lower depending on where you live or your own personal preferences, but typically, the lower the cost, the lower the quality. And there are just some things you can’t go the discount route with when it comes to your child’s safety and development.
Because there are a lot of factors that go into this national average, it’s important to look at each state and figure out the average cost of daycare where you live in the US. Depending on where you live and the average cost of living and income, childcare could be a lot more approachable. Or, as plenty of parents can attest to, it can be more intimidating. But if daycare is a necessity for your family, then it’s important to become familiar with the facts and figures to at least get ahead of the curve as much as possible.
While some states might have higher or lower averages to consider for your childcare budget, other states have more approachable average childcare costs that some families might be able to more reasonably afford. Take Mississippi, for example. The annual cost for childcare in this state is $4,822, while the yearly average in Pennsylvania clocks in at more than double that amount at $10,640. That’s a huge difference, but things like income and other state-priced expenses can be factors in childcare cost differences per year in each state.
If you happen to live in Washington, D.C., however, you have drawn the short straw when it comes to childcare costs. The annual average expense for childcare in D.C. is $22,631. For some single income families, that’s close to their yearly income. Clearly, childcare takes a lot out of parents and sometimes, it can be a deterrent for both parents to even go back to work, depending on how much they would make at work compared to childcare costs. It’s a scary, but common issue parents face.
Then you have states like Nebraska and West Virginia, which both have a yearly average of $7,926 for childcare. Consider the added costs if you have more than one child. That number could double before you know it. However, compared to some of the other states with higher yearly averages, the yearly average of these two at least mean their monthly averages are a little over $660. That’s lower than the US monthly average daycare cost.
Luckily, there are some ways to save money on childcare if you find yourself penny pinching just so you are able to work and have a safe and comfortable environment for your little one at the same time. If you start your center or in-home daycare search a little early, before you even need one at that moment, then you could snag a spot in a more affordable one that would otherwise fill up quickly.
You can also find out if your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which can help you to set aside tax-free income to pay for your child’s care outside of school. In some cases, it can even pay for preschool, so it’s definitely worth looking into. If the company you work for doesn’t offer that, you can always take to your human resources department to see if there is any other time of childcare reimbursement offered. Childcare is easily one of those things that are unavoidable for some families, so any bit of assistance is always helpful.
According to a USDA report, in the first year of your child’s life, you will spend an average of $13,000 to take care of them. That number understandably increases the following year and as you need more things for your child, that number can continue to fluctuate. Childcare expenses are no joke, but for some parents it is a non-negotiable and it’s important to be able to budget for that right from the start. Unfortunately, it can cost a pretty penny to find the right center-run or in-home daycare to trust with the most important person in your life. But if you can plan ahead and become familiar with how much daycare will cost near you, it can be less of a blow.