Market Overview

Nearly 1 in 3 Families Spend at Least 20% of Household Income on Child Care


According to the
2017 Cost of Care Survey
, 32% of families spend 20% or more of their
annual household income on child care. Despite high child care costs, a
majority of families (81%) say their current child care plan is worth
the money. The fourth annual survey from (NYSE:CRCM,,
the world's largest online destination for finding and managing family
care, also found that families are increasingly recognizing the need to
budget for child care (72% in 2017, compared to 58% in 2014).

"With heightened awareness of child care costs, parents are rightfully
budgeting for baby more than ever before," said Robyn Wentzel-Freeman,
data analyst at "However, even with this preparation, the 2017 Cost of Care Survey found that high child care costs still
challenge families financially, emotionally, and in the workplace."


Annual Child Care Costs: 32% of families spend 20% or more of
their household income on child care; 48% spend more than 10% of their
income on child care.

National Average Weekly Rates*:

*all rates are for one infant child, except for After School Sitter,
which is not age limited.

Top 5 Most Affordable States for a Nanny*     Top 5 Least Affordable States for a Nanny*
1. New Hampshire

2. New Jersey

3. Maryland

4. Connecticut

5. North Dakota

    1. Mississippi

2. New Mexico

3. Arkansas

4. West Virginia

5. Alabama

Top 5 Most Affordable States for a Child Care Center*     Top 5 Least Affordable States for a Child Care Center*
1. North Dakota

2. Utah

3. Delaware

4. Arkansas

5. New Jersey

    1. District of Columbia

2. Oregon

3. California

4. Alaska

5. New York

*Based on the average cost of care for one child in relation to the
state median family income among households with children


How Prepared Are Families for Child Care Costs?
Families are
doing more to prepare for child care costs – one of their biggest
expenses – with 72% now budgeting for child care, an increase from 58%
in 2014. However, families still struggle with the realities of
expenses. Thirty percent of parents who set up a monthly "family budget"
for overall expenses (e.g. education, clothing and extracurricular
activities) are rarely or never able to stay within their family budget,
and 69% go over by $100 or more per month.

What Extras Will Parents Pay More For?
While more than half
of parents (52%) say they spend too much on child care, they're still
willing to pay more for caregivers with additional skills, education,
and services. A majority of parents would be willing to pay more for
nannies and au pairs with an early education degree (72%), certification
in CPR or First Aid (67%), multilingual skills and the ability to teach
their children other languages (64%), a college degree (58%), or organic
cooking skills (54%). At child care centers and schools, parents would
pay more for a lower student/teacher ratio (77%), more variety in
classes (70%), a video camera to check in on children (69%), a driver or
concierge to pick up and drop off their children (68%), better
technology to communicate with families (60%), or organic food (53%).

Overall, How Much do Parents Spend on Their Children?
child care and education to clothing and extracurricular activities, 30%
of parents say they spend $25,000 or more annually on each child. More
than half of parents (59%) don't know how much they spend on their
children each year; however, this is an improvement from 2016, where 71%
said they were unaware of overall spend.

What's the Emotional and Financial Toll of Child Care Costs?
1 in 3 parents (32%) would put themselves in debt — or further in debt —
to pay for child care, an increase from 25% in 2016. Forty percent say
child care costs cause tension in their relationship with their partner.
The cost of child care is also influencing family planning decisions.
One in 5 families (20%) say they had fewer children than they would have
liked because of the cost of child care, and 17% say they waited longer
to have children. Nevertheless, 81% still feel their current child care
plan is worth the money.

How Does Child Care Influence Career Decisions?
Prior to
having children, approximately 3 out of 4 people (76%) said they didn't
think child care costs would influence their career decisions. Yet
nearly 2 out of 3 parents (63%) stated that child care costs did indeed
influence their career, with 33% changing jobs to increase take-home
pay, 27% asking for a more flexible work schedule, and 23% downshifting
to a part-time schedule or becoming a stay-at-home parent to save money
on child care. Approximately 1 in 4 parents (26%) who decided to
downshift to part-time work or leave the workforce entirely walked away
from annual incomes of $50,000 or more. In hindsight, approximately 1 in
5 parents (21%) say they wouldn't have made the same career decisions.

Can Employers Help Working Parents and Their Companies?
half of working parents (44%) say their employer seems to care about
their child care needs, yet the need for employer support is real. An
overwhelming majority of working parents (85%) wish their employer
offered child care benefits, such as discounted child care and access to
back up child care. This type of support would be meaningful for both
parents and employers, as nearly 3 in 4 working parents (73%) say their
job has been affected because their child care plans fell through
last-minute. The use of a sick day (64%) and being late to work (54%)
were the top two ways their job was affected.

"It's clear from the 2017 Cost of Care Survey that working
parents continue to struggle balancing care and work," said Ben
Robinson, Global VP of Sales & Account Management for Care@Work,'s enterprise solution for helping companies support their
working families. "It's important that companies today address their
workforce's parental responsibilities and offer family care benefits,
especially if they want to compete for and retain the best talent.
Fifty-two percent of parents surveyed feel that workplaces should
provide benefits to support working families. Whether it's a flexible
work arrangement or subsidized back up child care, these benefits should
reflect the way today's parents work."

What Can Parents Do to Reduce the Cost of Care?
There are
ways families can mitigate the cost of child care. To get a sense of how
much they can afford to spend on child care, parents can find free,
interactive tools to discover local
nanny rates
and nanny
tax calculators
. Opening a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account
(FSA), offered by many employers, is also one method families can save
thousands of dollars each year on child care. Yet, 1 in 3 parents aren't
aware of this cost-cutting tactic.

How Do Parents Feel About the Country's Cost of Care?
having budgets and contributing to Dependent Care FSAs, families feel
they need more help. More than 2 out of 3 families (68%) say the tax
deduction received from a Dependent Care FSA isn't enough to have a
meaningful impact. Fifty-three percent say American culture doesn't do
enough to support working parents when it comes to the cost of care, and
47% say they wish the United States subsidized child care costs as some
other countries do. As families look to Congress to make changes in this
area, the top two words that best describe how parents feel about how
much they spend on their children each year are "necessary" and

About the 2017 Cost of Care Data
Cost of Care Survey is an annual survey to measure the relative cost of
care in the U.S. and how care impacts families' budgets and employment.
The 2017 Cost of Care Survey captured responses from more than
1,100 parents in the United States during the month of May 2017.
Respondents were recruited from

Weekly rates for child care costs are based on 2016 member
data, with the exception of au pair rates, which are based on data from
Cultural Care Au Pair, Au Pair in America, and Au Pair Care.
Affordability rankings are calculated based on the average cost of care
for one child in relation to the U.S.
Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey
that includes both
married and single parent households with children.

For more information about the survey, sources, a video about the survey
findings, or to learn helpful tips on saving, visit
Employers can also find helpful tips on how to best support their
working families at

Since launching
in 2007, (NYSE:CRCM) has been committed to solving the complex
care challenges that impact families, caregivers, employers, and care
service companies. Today, is the world's largest online
destination for finding and managing family care, with 13.6 million
families and 10.4 million caregivers* across more than 20 countries,
including the U.S., UK, Canada and parts of Western Europe, and
approximately 1.2 million employees of corporate clients having access
to our services. Spanning child care to senior care, pet care,
housekeeping and more, 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 Benefits, including the household
payroll and tax services provided by HomePay and the Care
Benefit Bucks program, a peer-to-peer pooled, portable benefits platform
funded by household employer contributions which provides caregivers
access to professional benefits. For enterprise clients, builds
customized benefits packages covering child care, back up care, and
senior care consulting services through its Care@Work business, and
serves care businesses with marketing and recruiting support. To connect
families further, acquired community platforms Big Tent and
Kinsights in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Headquartered in Waltham,
Massachusetts, has offices in Berlin, Austin, and the San
Francisco Bay area.

*As of March 2017.

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