Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Parents in the Northeast Spend the Most for Child Care: Report

Infants and young children may be tiny in size, but providing center-based day care and preschool for them means big costs. According to a recently released report, the median family in the United States spends $8,320 a year on center-based day care and preschool for young children.

Using nationally representative data from the 2016 Early Childhood Program Participation Survey, the Brookings report calculated the prices for parents who pay for at least eight hours a week for center-based care for a child under five years old who does not have a disability and without any outside financial help in paying the tuition.

The results of the study are analyzed by age of child, region of country, parental education, parental income and hours of attendance.

The study determined that, not only does the country as a whole spend a median price of $8,320 a year and $5.31 an hour, but that families in the Northeast and West spend more, and those in the South and Midwest spend less.

Families in the Northeast spend the most, with a median price of $6.39 an hour on center-based day care and preschool services.

According to Brookings, the more education and income a family has, the more they spend on these fees. “Graduate and professional families pay more than twice what parents with less than a high school education pay. To the extent that price affects quality and quality affects long-term outcomes for children, this is a concern,” the report states.


However, that spending declines as a percentage of the family income with rising socioeconomic status. The study revealed that families with an annual income of $100,000 to $150,000 spend 7 percent of their income on center-based care, while families with a $40,000 to $50,000 annual income spend 13 percent on these services.

The study also determined that as children grow older, the spending on center-based day care decreases. Additionally, infants are receiving center-based care for more hours than older children. For example, the median weekly hours for infants is 40, whereas it is 24 for 4-year-olds.

“Center-based care is thought to cost more for infants and toddlers than for older preschoolers because a larger staff is necessary to care for the needs of the youngest children,” the Brookings report states.

The report also pointed out that this information is important for parents, the child care industry, policymakers and government.