Childcare costs soar as parents prepare to return to the office

Parents are struggling to manage another rising cost in addition to rising grocery and gas prices: childcare.

The average price to send a child to daycare in 2021 has risen 5% to $226 per week, from $215 in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an annual survey by Care.com, a platform in online to find family. care.

Meanwhile, it cost $694 per week for a nanny in 2021, up 23% from $565 per week in 2019, while national average weekly babysitter rates were $261 a year last, up 7% from pre-pandemic, according to the survey released on Wednesday.

“When it comes to childcare, there are three essential criteria – cost, quality and availability – and based on the results of our research, not only have we failed to make progress as country, we actually went backwards,” said Natalie Mayslich. , president of the consumer side of Care.com.

Some places are more expensive than others. Washington DC is the most expensive area for child care or a nanny – on average, it costs $419 per week for daycare and $855 for a nanny – that’s 85% and 23% respectively above the national average.

Washington and Massachusetts are the most expensive states for child care. It costs at least $300 per week for daycare for one child and $830 per week for nanny for one child in these two states.

The increase in childcare costs between 2019 and 2020 exceeded the annual inflation rate. At the same time, nearly half of parents said it was more difficult to find child care. Nearly 16,000 child care providers closed between December 2019 and March 2021, according to a Child Care Aware survey.

Families are already facing rising grocery prices: they rose 12% from May 2021 to May 2022, according to the May Consumer Price Index. A third of respondents to the Care.com survey said they were considering taking a second job to help support their families.

As financial pressures increased, parents reported that they were cutting back on spending in other areas. Two-thirds of respondents told Care.com that they manage to stay within or under their budget, but more than half of respondents said they have reduced their vacations, as well as leisure activities by their family.

However, the report also suggests that parents are not using all the potential government benefits available to them. An example is the Child and Dependent Tax Credit, which saves parents $600 for one child and $1,200 for two children. About a third of parents surveyed said they had not applied for the credit and four in 10 parents said they were unaware of it.

“Costs go up as availability goes down and that has a profound impact on labor and consumer spending,” Mayslich said. “We have all seen what happens when parents cannot work; making child care more affordable and accessible must be a priority for everyone.

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