Parents Willing to Pay More for Quality Child Care Despite Already High Costs
Having a baby is one of life's happiest experiences, but it can also be one of the most expensive. According to the Care.com 2015 Cost of Care Survey, 28% of parents actually spend more than $20,000 per year on child care. Despite the high costs, the survey found that parents are willing to pay even more money for additional skills and services from their babysitters, nannies and day care centers. Conducted in May 2015, Care.com (NYSE: CRCM, www.care.com), the world's largest online destination for finding and managing family care, surveyed approximately 700 parents to measure awareness of child care costs, its impact on their careers and relationships, and the lengths people will go to for quality child care.
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"Parents are prepared to jump through hoops when it comes to providing the best care for their child – asking friends and family for money, making major budget cuts, and even going into debt," said Donna Levin, co-founder of Care.com. "Our survey found that regardless of the high costs, parents are also willing to pay even more than they already do for quality child care, such as day cares that offer baby sign language and are equipped with video cameras, and multilingual nannies who are CPR-certified."
CARE.COM 2015 COST OF CARE SURVEY SPENDING INSIGHTS
- Annual Child Care Costs: 28% of parents spend more than $20,000 on child care. 13% spend more than $30,000.
- National Average Weekly Rate for a Nanny (for two kids): $488
- *Five Most Expensive States for a Nanny:
- New Mexico
- *Five Most Affordable States for a Nanny:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- National Average Weekly Rate for a Day Care Center (for two kids): $341.21
- **Five Most Expensive States for Day Care:
- New York
- **Five Most Affordable States for Day Care:
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
- National Average Weekly Rate for an After School Sitter: $196.80
*Local data based on the percentage of nanny costs for one child (regardless of age) in relation to average state median income for a two-parent family, as reported by Care.com.
** Local data based on the percentage of day care costs for a 4-year old child in relation to average state median income for a two-parent family, as reported by Care.com.
CARE.COM 2015 COST OF CARE SURVEY INSIGHTS
Do Parents Budget for Child Care? Although child care is the biggest annual expense for most families, 38% of parents don't budget for it. Even among those who do, 59% don't start budgeting for child care until after the baby arrives. It's no wonder that child care is the number one cost that surprises parents the most when they start having kids, and a majority of them (63%) pay more than they expected to. The good news? Compared to the Care.com 2014 Cost of Care Survey, more people are actually budgeting for child care now (62% in 2015, compared to 58% in 2014).
How Do Parents Feel About The Cost of Child Care? A whopping 89% of parents say thinking about the cost of child care makes them stressed. This stress is taking a toll on their relationships, with approximately 1 in 4 (24%) parents who say they fight with their partner about child care costs. Despite this, 80% of parents still feel their current child care plan is worth the money and 67% would even be willing to pay more for child care if it meant they'd have a shorter work commute.
How Far Will Parents Go To Pay For Child Care? Approximately 1 in 4 parents (26%) would put themselves in debt or further debt to pay for child care. Other lengths parents will go to pay for child care include asking friends and relatives for money (21%) and making major budget cuts (33%). 15% of parents said the cost of child care even influenced when they had a child (they waited to have kids).
And Yet They'd Pay For More. Despite the high cost of child care, parents are still willing to pay a nanny even more for certain skills and services, including: CPR/First Aid certification (55%); an early education degree (54%); and being multi-lingual to teach to their children (43%). When it comes to day cares and schools, the top three amenities parents would pay more for are: more varied activity classes like baby yoga and baby sign language (55%); a video camera for remote check-ins on their child (52%); and better technology so centers/schools can communicate with families (45%).
What's the Impact of Child Care Costs on a Parent's Career? A majority of parents (69%) say the cost of child care has influenced their career decisions. In fact, because of the cost of child care, 35% of parents have changed jobs to increase their income, 24% took an additional job to increase their income, and 26% changed jobs for better family benefits. In addition, a majority of parents (60%) also said their employer doesn't seem to care about their child care needs. Not surprisingly then, according to a Care.com Workplace Solutions Better Benefits Survey, child care assistance is one of the top three lifestyle benefits employees would most likely leave an employer for.
"The Care.com 2015 Cost of Care Survey found an overwhelming 89% of working parents wish their employer offered child care benefits, yet 81% said their employer doesn't offer any child care benefits," added Levin. "In today's competitive marketplace where 60% of American families have two working parents, it's smart for employers to offer child care support to help retain and attract talent."
What Can Parents Do To Reduce the Cost of Care? Beyond budgeting for baby, there are ways to mitigate the cost of child care. Opening a Flexible Spending Account, offered by many employers, is one method that can easily save families thousands of dollars each year on child care, yet 36% of parents aren't aware of this. Parents can also find free, interactive tools to determine local nanny rates and nanny tax calculators to get a sense of how much they can afford to spend on child care.
Additional Care.com 2015 Cost of Care Insights
- 12% judge other parents based on the type of child care they use for their family.
- Friends and family are the number one resource when parents research child care costs.
- 1 in 4 parents interview fewer than 5 nannies, sitters, and au pairs. 35% of parents visit fewer than 5 child care programs.
- Only 24% of parents asked about maternity/paternity leave or child care benefits when they interviewed at their last job.
About the Care.com 2015 Cost of Care Survey
The Care.com 2015 Cost of Care Survey captured responses from approximately 700 people in the United States during the month of May 2015. Respondents were recruited from Care.com.
Since launching in 2007, Care.com (NYSE: CRCM) has been committed to solving the complex care challenges that impact families, caregivers, employers, and care service companies. Today, Care.com is the world's largest online destination for finding and managing family care, with 15.2 million member consumers* across 16 countries, including the US, UK, Canada and parts of Western Europe, and approximately half a million employees of corporate clients having access to our services. Spanning child care to senior care, pet care, housekeeping and more, Care.com provides a sweeping array of services for families and caregivers to find, manage and pay for care or find employment. These include: a comprehensive suite of safety tools and resources members may use to help make more informed hiring decisions – such as third-party background check services, monitored messaging, and tips on hiring best practices; easy ways for caregivers to be paid online or via mobile app; and household payroll and tax services provided by Care.com HomePay. Care.com builds employers customized benefits packages covering child care, back up care and senior care consulting services through its Global Workplace Solutions, and serves care businesses with marketing and recruiting support. To further connect families, Care.com has expanded its consumer service with its 2014 acquisition of Citrus Lane, the leading social commerce site for moms, and its 2013 acquisition of Big Tent. Headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Care.com has offices in Berlin, Austin, New York City and Silicon Valley.
*As of March 2015.
Jacalyn Lee, 781-795-7328
Public Relations Director