High Quality Child Care Is Out of Reach for Working Families
by Elise Gould and Tanyell Cooke, EPI, October 6, 2015 (excerpts)
...High and rising college tuition is a well-known phenomenon; while hourly wages have stagnated, college tuition has grown faster than both overall inflation and median incomes, making college increasingly unaffordable (Barrett 2015). What is less well known is how comparable college tuition is to child care costs.
As with child care costs, postsecondary education costs vary greatly by institution type and state. The average annual cost of tuition for an in-state full-time undergraduate student in a degree-granting public institution ranges from $3,756 in Wyoming to $14,469 in New Hampshire (NCES 2014). While these sums are sizable, 4-year-old care exceeds the average cost of in-state college tuition at public 4-year institutions in 24 states and the District of Columbia. (Hawaii Child Care = 109.6% of College Tuition Cost)
Similarly, infant care costs exceed tuition in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Even when looking at out-of-state tuition at public 4-year institutions, which is significantly more expensive than in-state tuition, college costs still do not dwarf child care costs.... (Hawaii Infant Care = 146% of College Tuition Costs)
Among families with young children, child care costs constitute a large share of annual earnings for families living off one full-time, full-year minimum-wage income. For example, to meet the demands of infant care costs for a year, a minimum-wage worker in Hawaii—the state with the median state minimum wage ($7.75)—would have to devote his or her entire earnings from working full time (40 hours a week) from January until September....
In Hawaii, the state with the median state minimum wage ($7.75), annual costs for 4-year-old care are equal to 55.8 percent of minimum-wage earnings. This means a minimum-wage worker would have to work 1,162 hours—or full time (40 hours a week) from January until July—to cover annual child care costs for a 4-year-old. In comparison, annual infant care costs in Hawaii are equal to 74.4 percent of minimum-wage earnings. In other words, to pay for infant care for a year, a minimum-wage worker in the state would have to work 1,548 hours, or from January until September....
read ... Child Care Affordability