It’s Official: Childcare Now Costs More than Rent

While most New Yorkers complain about the price of rent (and rightfully so), parents know that the real budget buster can be the cost of childcare. Between babysitters, nannies and daycare, figuring out who can care for your child(ren) while you’re at work is a stress on parents both emotionally and financially. And a new research paper from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has confirmed just that, finding that in most parts of the U.S., families spend more on childcare than they do on rent, according to

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that in order to be considered affordable, childcare should account for no more than 10 percent of a family’s budget. But these costs can actually comprise more than 30 percent. In fact, the EPI study found that in 33 states, childcare costs more than sending a child to college—as long as the school is public and in-state.

“How are young parents supposed to be able to afford the equivalent of a college tuition?” asks Elise Gould, a senior economist at EPI, who spearheaded the research paper. “This is out of reach for many [higher-income] families.”

And the rising cost of childcare has impacted many parent’s career choices, with some parents—women in particular—leaving the workforce altogether. In 2010, a paper by the U.S. Census Bureau stated that, “for mothers who have more than one child under 5, the cost of daycare might be higher than she could support unless she has fairly high earnings.” The result is that many mothers are choosing to stay home with their kids, whether they want to or not.

“I absolutely think [the cost of childcare] plays a role in a woman’s decision to go to work,” says Gould. “It is taking a toll on labor force participation and therefore on the economy.”

It is such a huge issue that President Obama mentioned it in his 2015 State of the Union address, citing child care affordability as a key to helping middle-class families feel more secure in a world of constant change.

REALTED: Find Childcare in Your Area

Never hear ‘I’m bored’ again with our weekly family-activities newsletter!