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Childcare Costs More Than College in Some States

Update Date: Nov 05, 2013 04:24 PM EST

When couples decide to start a family, costs, ranging from baby diapers to clothing, can rack up quickly. Since babies are expensive, both parents in today's society work forcing some families to turn to childcare centers. In a new study, researchers calculated just how much these childcare centers cost families. The research team from Child Care Aware of America, which is a nonprofit advocacy group, reported that in over 50 percent of the states within the U.S., childcare could end up costing more than the combined tuition and fees of a public college.

For this study, the researchers surveyed state and local childcare centers and referral offices. They focused on getting the average costs for infants and four-year-old children to stay at a childcare center. The researchers were able to get information from 48 out of 50 states and from the District of Columbia.

The authors of the report found that between 2011 and 2012, the costs to put an infant into a childcare center have increased by 2.7 percent. For toddlers, the costs for a childcare center have also increased by 2.6 percent. While these centers continue to get more expensive, the national median household income during this time frame has only increased by a mere 1.7 percent. When the authors looked at childcare costs by states, they found in every part of the nation that the average childcare expenses exceeded the average costs families spent on food. The average costs ranged from $4,863 to $16,430. The higher end of the costs is equivalent to the costs of attending public universities within the states

The researchers reported that for families with more than one child, the costs were inevitably higher. They reported that putting an infant and a four-year-old child into childcare centers cost more than the annual median rent in every state. The findings suggest that if childcare costs continue to rise, parents might turn to other options, such as unregulated care centers that are not licensed and thus, do not have to meet health and safety standards. These centers could jeopardize children's health.  

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