Child care now costs more than in-state college tuition

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — More and more parents with young children are heading back to work, but they are finding its extremely expensive to pay for good child care.

The average cost of full-time daycare for kids up to the age of 4 now costs $9,589 a year. That’s more than the average national cost of in-state college tuition, which runs about $9,410.

The report, from think tank New America and reported by CNN Money, shows parents earning the median household income of $53,000 a year would need to spend 18% of their income just to care for one child.

It gets more expensive the younger your child is. Infant care is 12% higher than toddler care on average.

If you think getting a nanny instead is your answer, think again. The average in-home nanny will cost you an average of $28,353 a year. That’s more than half of the medium household income.

Ohio is slightly lower than the averages. It costs $8,322 on average if you use a child care center, and $26,898 if you choose an in home nanny. Still, those prices would eat up 92% of someone’s income working minimum wage.

The cheapest places for child care are West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma.

Click/Tap here to see an interactive map of every state.

While unaffordable for many, the the authors of the study say accredited early care centers foster a child’s brain development and ability to learn.

“An effective system should be built on three pillars: affordable cost, high quality and easy availability. That is not happening in the current fragmented, patchwork system,” they wrote. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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