During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents with children under the age of 18 – both mothers and fathers – left the workforce. With schools across the country shifting to remote learning, it made more financial sense for many parents to give up their job and stay home with their children rather than pay for child care – especially as child care costs skyrocketed during the pandemic.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, a family with two children, age four and eight, is projected to pay an average of $16,659 on child care in 2022. This amount varies across the country, however. In some states child care costs are far lower than the national average, while in others, families are paying thousands more. Here is a look at the countries with the most and least affordable groceries.
Using data from the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where families pay the most for child care. States are ranked on estimated child care expenditure in 2022, accounting for likely variations in types of available care between urban and rural areas for two children, age four and eight.
States with the highest child care costs are mostly spread across the Western and Northeastern U.S., while the lowest-cost states are overwhelmingly concentrated in the South. Here is a look at the best and worst states to raise a family.
As is often the case with factors that affect cost of living, child care costs appear to be driven in part by what parents can afford. In nearly every state with lower than average child care costs, median family income is below $80,069, the amount the typical American family earns. Similarly, in the vast majority of states with higher than average child care costs, the median family income is also higher than average. Here is a look at the income needed to be middle class in each state.
Click here to see the states where families pay the most for child care
Click here to read our detailed methodology
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