Child Care Aware® of America’s 13th Annual Price of Care Survey Reveals A Broken Child Care Ecosystem

Child Care Aware® of America’s 13th Annual Price of Care Survey Reveals A Broken Child Care Ecosystem 

California, Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon, Indiana and Maine top nation’s unaffordability list for infants and toddlers 

WASHINGTON, DC — Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA)  today released its 13th annual The US and The High Price of Child Care: An Examination of a Broken System which found that child care is unaffordable in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. For 30 years, CCAoA has been the leading voice for quality, affordable child care in the United States. Of note, CCAoA’s findings showed that across all states, the cost of center-based infant care exceeds 29 percent of median household income for single working parentsthese impacts were exacerbated for parents and families of color. 

CCAoA also found that child care remains one of the highest household expenses, especially in the Northeast and West, often exceeding $20,000 per year in those regions, competing closely with rising housing prices. The federal poverty level for a family of three in the continental United States was $20,780 last year.  

Massachusetts and California are the least affordable states this year for center-based infant care, while Oregon, Indiana, Colorado and Maine remain the least affordable states for center-based toddler care.  

New in this year’s report is county-level costs for  Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Wisconsin through an interactive map.   

Report highlights include:    

  • Nationally, the cost of center-based infant care ranges from 7.6% to 17.6% of median household income for married couples 
  • The use of updated millennial income data to compare with child care prices in each state. Overall, millennials pay anywhere from 18 to 42 percent of annual income for center-based infant care;  
  • Adjusting the title from previous years from “Cost of Care” to “Price of care” to reflect appropriate methodology and so as to not minimize the actual cost to the child care ecosystem; 
  • Descriptions of each member of the child care ecosystem–children, families, providers, communities, government and businesses and the role they play in creating and implementing solutions to price and access issues;  
  • The Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies that exist in states to support families and communities can lead the way for multiple stakeholders;  
  • Legislative and policy recommendations which focus on the key questions of how we can best support the child care workforce in sustaining quality care and how to help families pay for it. Recommendations include:  
    • Improved data collection and analysis 
    • Enhanced parent and provider awareness 
    • Strengthened financial mechanisms  

Dr. Lynette M. Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware® of America said, “A critical piece of CCAoA’s price of care report this year are the spotlight stories on children with special needs, businesses who help, working fathers, single, student, and millennial mothers, family child care providers, exemplary child care programs and solutions to better fund the system to support all of these stakeholders. When one member of this ecosystem struggles, the entire system flounders. Quality, affordable child care should be, and can be made available and accessible to all children in the U.S.—regardless of age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or geographic location.”  

CCAoA works with state Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies to track the cost of care for children by age and setting, then compares each state’s costs to its median income, ranking the states by affordability for each category of care. CCAoA’s interactive map shows the relationship between costs and median income by state.  

For more than three decades, CCAoA has advocated for families, partnered with CCR&Rs, and informed the nation about the price of child care for families. Research has shown that children who attend high-quality early childhood education programs have better outcomes later in life, including increased education and earnings and less contact with the criminal justice system, saving the government money in the long run.  

More than 12.5 million children under the age of five are in some form of child care in the United States; roughly 35 percent of children in care under age five are in child care centers. As the nation’s leading voice for child care, CCAoA is comprised of 125,000 online advocates from across the country and hundreds of members. For child care providers, they offer training on emergency preparedness as well as technical assistance that emphasize health, nutrition and obesity prevention and more.  

CCAoA will be holding a webinar on October 23 from 2-3 p.m. EDT to introduce the new report to interested members of the media and to provide additional context for the data. To join the webinar, please register here.

# # #

About Child Care Aware® of America
Child Care Aware® of America is our nation’s leading voice for child care. CCAoA works with state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) and other community partners to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. CCAoA leads projects that increase the quality and availability of child care, offers comprehensive training to child care professionals, undertakes research, and advocates for child care policies that improve the lives of children and families. To learn more, visit Follow CCAoA on Twitter @ChildCareAware and on Facebook at


Child Care Aware of America

Pin It on Pinterest