Childcare Costs in Massachusetts Significantly Higher Than Other States

by | Feb 14, 2024 | Children |

Childcare expenses in Massachusetts are increasingly swallowing up family budgets as pandemic-era federal relief comes to an end, a landmark new survey lays bare.

Figures from the non-profit United Way of the National Capital Area (UWNCA), the cost of childcare for some families in the US is more than $20,000 a year.

In Washington DC the average annual fee is around $24,081 – more than twice the national average of $11,471.

DC was followed by Massachusetts and California , with average costs of $20,880 and $16,452 respectively.

The cheapest state was Mississippi , where parents pay $5,760 per child per year – around half the national average. It was followed by South Dakota and Arkansas , where childcare cost families an average of $6,143 and $6,443 respectively.

According to the report , in DC the cost of childcare for a family with two children is more than what they spend on rent each month – $1,694 as opposed to $1,681.

In March 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act which ringfenced $24 billion to support childcare centers.

The Biden administration reported that this measure offered financial support to 80 percent of licensed facilities and helped provide more than 9 million children with care.

Many facilities used the money to increase wages for staff to avoid them seeking better-paid jobs and it is thought to have helped more than 200,000 providers stay afloat.

But that funding expired last month, leaving many parents facing what has been labeled a ‘childcare cliff’ .

The UWNCA study also compared the median childcare costs with the median income in each state.

The study also found that for certain ethnic groups, the cost of childcare was significantly higher.

Black median-income households will spend nearly a quarter, or 24 percent, of their annual pay, about $47,000, on childcare for one child.

White households spent on average 15 percent of their $75,412 median annual income on, by comparison.

Asian American families, with the highest median household incomes, $75,412, were expected to spend around 11 percent on childcare.

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