Average Daycare Costs Across the United States (2020)

You probably know how much your facility charges for daycare. But do you know how your daycare costs compare to those within the state or across the country? Find out below.

Factors That Affect Cost of Child Care

Child care costs vary greatly, influenced by several factors, including:

  • Cost of living, based on which area of the country the facility is based
  • Type of location, meaning large city, suburb, or small town
  • Offering of non-traditional hours
  • Provision of additional services and activities
  • Staff to child ratios
  • Age of child (child care for older children costs less because they need less hands-on care and require fewer providers in each room)

For example, the cost of child care during traditional hours for a toddler of normal development in a general classroom setting will likely be significantly less than daycare that extends into the evening, with enrichment activities, for a child under the age of one.

What It Costs to Operate a Daycare Center

Costs to operate a daycare center vary greatly as well. Because child care is labor-intensive, employee wages account for the largest portion of expenses. Other expenses providers must consider include rent or mortgage, equipment, supplies, food, licensing fees, and insurance. The Center for American Progress estimates that for a child care center to provide daycare to an infant costs more than $14,000 annually.

Average Annual Daycare Costs

In the United States, the average annual cost of center-based child care for infants is $11,896 ($991 a month), $10,158 for toddlers ($847 a month), and $9,254 ($771 per month) for preschool-age children.

These costs can increase with additional expenses such as supply fees, laundry or diaper chargers, and extras, such as internet viewing for parents to observe their child at daycare.

Most and Least Affordable Areas for Child Care

Based on the average cost of care in the state as a portion of the state median family income for households with children, these are the most and least affordable states when it comes to child care center expenses.

Five most affordable states:

  1. North Dakota
  2. Utah
  3. Delaware
  4. New Jersey
  5. South Dakota

Five least affordable states:

  1. District of Columbia
  2. California
  3. Oregon
  4. New Mexico
  5. New York

Average Daycare Costs by State

Just as daycare costs from state to state, child care costs vary greatly within states, as well. For example, in Washington the annual price of infant child care in a daycare center is $14,844. But rates tend to be higher in urban areas like the Puget Sound and Vancouver regions. Daycare costs within the state range from a low of $685 in Asotin County to a high of $1,573 in King County.

The average center-based costs for every state is listed below, with daycare costs separated by the age of the child. For more details about each state, visit ChildCare Aware of America’s interactive map.

For expert advice on your daycare fees and child care center expenses, contact Honest Buck Accounting.

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