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What Should Daycare Cost?


What Should Daycare Cost?

It stands to reason that you'll pay more for infant care than the going rate in the toddler room. Infants require more attention.

But should an infant's care cost more than what you pay for a roof over your head?

"Once our second child is born and we've got two in daycare, we'll be paying more for daycare each month than what our mortgage costs," writes Angela G. in the Working Moms community.

According to a 2010 study by the National Association of Child Care Resource Referral Agencies, center-based daycare for two children is indeed more expensive than housing, whether you pay rent or a mortgage payment, in many areas of the United States.

Startling as that may be, the survery also discovered that daycare is taking more than its fair share of a family's budget. In the past ten years, the cost of child care has increased twice as fast as the median family income.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services recommends that child care cost a family no more than 10 percent of its income. This guideline isn't even getting lip service in 37 states where center-based care for an infant is greater than ten percent of a two-parent household's income. For single parent families, the picture is even grimmer. In all 50 states, infant care costs more than what the federal government recommends, according to the NACCRRA study.

Alison L, a mom of two, is one parent who weights the cost of child care against the income she receives from her job.

"You've got to look at the cost relative to your income," she posts in the Working Moms community. "Add up all the costs associated with your job, compare it to your actual income. Our daily rate is about one-third my hourly wage (it is government funded). I find that puts things in perspective much more than looking at the monthly total."

That monthly total depends on where you live, as exact costs vary significantly from region to region.

The NACCRRA's study Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2010 Update is a compilation of average cost-of-childcare data from 99 percent of the nation's inhabited postal zip codes. Information from more than 700 state and local child care referral agencies in included in the report.

According to the report, costs are higher in more densely-populated areas and lower in rural locations. For instance, the NACCRRA's survery reveals that the annual yearly cost of center-based infant care in Massachusetts averages $18,750 versus $4,550 in Mississippi.

The states with the most costly care are Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Washington, D.C. is also included.

"We pay $165 a week for my son," writes Lauren S., a mom in Minnesota who is a member of the Working Moms community. "Minnesota is one of the most expensive states for childcare. Centers costs about $1,000 a month and in-home costs about $600 a month for infants."

The least expensive states are Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas, Idaho, North Dakota, South Carolina, Kansas and Alabama, according to the NACCRRA study.

For Jackie T., living in the Midwest pays off in terms of child care costs.

The Kansas mom pays $70 a week for her three-year-old son's care. If she isn't working a particular week, holding his spot costs only $20.

Not all working mothers have landed such a sweet deal.

Below are costs moms posting from around the country report:

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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