Get childcare for your kid or send them to college - it costs the same

ConsumerAffairs

A new report shows families are depleting savings to pay for childcare

If you are the parent of young children you know how expensive childcare is. But here’s a shocker: you could be spending enough to send your child to college.

A new report from Care.com shows nearly half of families participating in a survey spend $18,000 a year on child care, but 20% of parents spend more than $36,000 a year – more than the average cost of a year of college.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average cost of attending a public four-year state university – including room and board – is $24,030 during the current school year.

More than one-third of respondents to a survey said they have been forced to tap into their savings, on average exhausting a staggering 42% of their savings in 2023, leaving them with little financial flexibility.

'Forced into a financial hole'

“Within the first five years of their child’s life, parents are being forced into a financial hole that is nearly impossible to climb out of,” said Brad Wilson, CEO of Care.com. “A healthy economy depends upon the ability for people to save and spend, but given the crushing weight of childcare costs, those pillars are crumbling. The childcare crisis should be a major red flag for everyone, not just parents. It is a systemic failure that will impact our nation’s economic growth, and that affects us all.”

Derek Thompson, a writer for The Atlantic, recently tweeted that the costs are much higher in New York City, concluding that something’s not right in Gotham City. He cites U.S. Labor Department data showing that the average family with children would need an income of $300,000 to meet the federal guideline of spending no more than 7% of income on childcare. 

Could this become a political issue? It might. The Care.com report found that 88% of respondents said a political candidate’s position on childcare access and affordability would influence their vote.

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