WASHINGTON — The newly launched National Database of Childcare Prices, which provides child care prices in 2,360 U.S. counties, shows that child care expenses are untenable for families throughout the country and highlights the urgent need for greater federal investments, the U.S. Department of Labor announced.
Sponsored by the department’s Women’s Bureau, the database shows prices vary by child care provider type, age of children and location. It includes median prices for center- and home-based providers for children from ages 0 to 12. The database is the most comprehensive public federal source of child care prices at the county level.
A new brief drawing on available data across 47 states shows child care prices for a single child ranged from $4,810 for school-age home-based care in small counties to $15,417 for infant center-based care in very large counties. When adjusted for inflation, this equals between $5,357 and $17,171 in 2022 dollars. These price ranges are equivalent to between 8% and 19.3% of median family income per child in paid care.
“All across the country, families are facing burdensome child care expenses. The last few years have highlighted the tension parents experience when they need to go to work to provide for their families, but have difficulty doing so if they can’t access affordable child care,” said Women’s Bureau Director Wendy Chun-Hoon.
“The National Database of Childcare Prices shows that — where child care prices are high — mothers are less likely to be employed outside the home, even in places with higher wages. Reducing out-of-pocket child care expenses for families would support higher employment, particularly among women, lift more families out of poverty, and reduce disparities in employment and early care and education.”
“This data will allow our nation’s researchers and policymakers to measure potential economic impacts of child care affordability accurately and identify strategies for enhancing employment options and economic security for women,” Chun-Hoon added. “It will give policymakers and advocacy organizations a tool to combine county-level child care prices with local employment and economic indicators. By doing so, we can understand better the needs of working families and the impacts of a lack of affordable, accessible care infrastructure in their communities.”
In concert with the new National Database of Childcare Prices, the department released interactive county-by county maps of child care prices and these prices as a share of family income.