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Over Half of Families are Spending More Than 20% of Income on Child Care

Resource June 29, 2022

The results of a new survey reveal that the cost of child care – already prohibitively expensive pre-pandemic – has only gotten worse for families as parents return to work and ongoing staff shortages plague providers.

Key findings from the 2022 Cost of Care Survey

  • The cost of child care is higher for families in 2022. 51% of parents say they spend more than 20% of their household income on child care, and 72% of parents report spending 10% or more. This is up from 70%, according to data from 2019.
  • Quality child care continues to be tough for parents to find. In fact, 43% of parents say it’s much harder to find child care over the past year.
  • Parents continue to struggle to pay for child care. In fact, 59% are more concerned about child care costs now than in years prior, which is driving significant changes, such as taking on a second job (31%), reducing hours at work (26%), changing jobs (25%), and leaving the workforce entirely (21%), to foot the bill. ​​

The cost of child care continues to rise

  • 63% report that child care is more expensive over the past year. Parents say this is due to; centers’ increased costs (46%), Inflation (41%) and Child care centers taking fewer children (36%).
  • Of parents surveyed, 72% say they are spending 10% or more of their household income on child care, with a majority spending more than 20% or more.
  • Every type of child care is pricier than it was pre-pandemic. The average child care cost for one child in 2021 was $694/week for a nanny, $226/week for a child care or daycare center and $221/week for a family care center.
  • More than half of families (58%) plan to spend more than $10,000 on child care this year, which is more than the average annual cost of in-state college tuition ($9,349).

This is impacting how much parents can afford to spend on other aspects of everyday life.

  • Parents report that the high price of child care is impacting their budget for expenses like food (45%) and clothing (41%).

Now is the time to invest in making quality child care available and affordable for working families who need it.

  • Pre-pandemic, over 30% of Americans were living in a child care desert with only one available child care spot for every three children in need of care.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, 15,856 providers have closed their doors, only making it harder for parents to find the care they need.
  • 1 in 3 parents across the country with kids under 5 say they are having serious problems finding child care or preschool options for their children.

Click here for’s 2024 report on child care costs and affordability.


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