Child care costs continue to be a heavy lift for America’s working families, according to ChildCare Aware of America’s latest Parents and the High Cost of Child Care report. Capturing 2014 data, the study found that the cost of child care in the United States can be as much as $16,549 annually for an infant, or $12,280 annually for a 4-year-old.
Unreliable child care hurts business, too, the report found. Absences related to lack of child care options cost U.S. employers $3 billion per year. In fact, 29% of working parents experienced some kind of child care breakdown in 2014, causing them to miss work, arrive late or leave work early.
Child care costs vary widely depending on where people live—but they eat up a huge portion of parents’ paychecks. Even in low-cost Mississippi, five-days-a-week, full-time infant care costs $5,496 per year.
Child care for two kids is more expensive than the median cost of housing in 23 states. In 30 states, the cost exceeds in-state tuition and fees at a four-year public college.