While the experience of raising a child may be priceless, the cost to provide care for them is getting to be more than most parents can afford.
According to a report from Child Care Aware of America Thursday, the annual cost of infant care increased roughly 2% last year and ranged from about $4,600 in Mississippi to $15,000 in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the cost of providing care for a four-year-old increased by more than 4% and ranged between $3,900 a year in Mississippi to almost $11,700 a year in Massachusetts.
For most parents, child care is by far their largest household expense. And the growing costs have put a tremendous strain on their budgets.
In almost half of all states, the cost of center-based care for one child exceeded annual median rent payments, the report said. And when two children are factored in, the costs exceeded rent payments in all 50 states. Child Care Aware also found that in 35 states, the cost to provide center-based care for an infant was higher than in-state tuition and fees for one year at a four-year public college.
The uptick comes at a time when cash-strapped parents have seen most major expenses associated with raising a child increase. Food prices have been creeping up throughout the country, with the United Nations index of cereal prices soaring 17% in the last month alone. Gas prices are also on the rise, steadily climbing back toward this year’s high of nearly $4 a gallon.
A report out earlier this summer found that, as a result of these increased costs, it will cost parents $8,000 more to raise a child born in 2011 to the age of 17. All of that is piled on top of worries about a slowing economy and continued concerns over the job market. Continue Reading…