Market Overview

Care.com Survey Finds One in Three Families Spend 20% or More of Household Income on Child Care

Share:

Child care is unaffordable for more than seven in 10 American
families, and nearly one in five families is spending at least a quarter
of annual household income on child care

According to the Care.com
2018 Cost of Care Survey
, 33% of families now spend 20% or more of
their annual household income on child care. Seven in 10 families report
paying rates higher than the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services' definition of affordable care, while nearly one in five
families spends a quarter or more of their household income on child
care. And 60% say child care costs have increased in the past year,
leading to many families adopting budgeting tactics such as reducing
date nights and cutting back on cable. In fact, the fifth annual survey
from Care.com (NYSE:CRCM, www.care.com)),
the world's largest online destination for finding and managing family
care, found that the average weekly rate for a nanny has risen over $100
since 2013. In a year that saw the U.S. fertility rate hit a record low,
the survey shows that one in three families (33%) say the cost of child
care influenced their family planning, in that they either waited longer
to have children or had fewer children than they would have liked
because of child care costs.

2018 COST OF CARE AROUND THE COUNTRY

Annual Child Care Costs: Care.com found that 33% of
families spend 20% or more of their household income on child care; 19%
of families spend 25% or more; and a whopping 71% spend at least 10% of
annual income. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines
affordable child care as costing up to 7% of household income.

*National Average Weekly Rates:

                                         
        2017       2016       2015       2014       2013

Nanny

      $580       $565       $557       $477       $472

After-School
Sitter

      $242       $232       $214       $197       $181

Child
Care Center

      $211       $211       $196       $188       $186

Family
Care Center

      $195       $200       $181       $140       $127

Au
Pair

      $390       $367       $360       $360       $360

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

**Top Five Most Affordable States to Hire a Nanny:

1. Maryland
2. New Jersey
3. Connecticut
4. New Hampshire
5.
North Dakota

**Top Five Least Affordable States to Hire a Nanny:

1. Mississippi
2. New Mexico
3. Arkansas
4. Alabama
5.
Louisiana

**Top Five Most Affordable States to Use a Child Care Center:

1. North Dakota
2. Utah
3. Wyoming
4. Delaware
5.
South Dakota

**Top Five Least Affordable States to Use a Child Care Center:

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

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

CARE.COM 2018 COST OF CARE SURVEY INSIGHTS

What's the Financial and Familial Impact of Child Care Costs?
American
families will go to great lengths to pay for child care. In fact, 26%
would put themselves in debt or further debt to pay for child care, and
parents report they've saved less money (54%) and made major budget cuts
(41%) in order to pay for the rising cost of care. These increased costs
are leading to more stress. More than one in three (35%) parents say
child care costs have caused tension in their relationship with their
partner. And one in three families (33%) say the cost of child care
influenced their family planning, in that they either waited longer to
have children or had fewer children than they would have liked because
of child care costs.

Are Families Aware of Child Care Costs?
Child care remains
the cost that surprises parents the most when they start having
children, followed by formula and diapers. With three in four families
(75%) reporting that child care costs were more than they expected, the
impact of these increasing costs is causing new parents to feel a bit of
sticker shock. The good news is 68% of families are now budgeting for
child care, up from 58% in 2014. And they're doing the research on care
prices: 72% look online for more information on costs, 68% turn to
friends and family, and 51% ask about rates during the interview process
for hiring nannies, sitters or day care centers.

How Does Child Care Influence Career Decisions?
The high
cost of care doesn't merely impact the home: It also has significant
influence on parents' career decisions. More than three-fourths (77%) of
parents say they didn't anticipate the cost of child care would impact
their career decisions—and yet 63% report that it did. The most common
adjustments are changing jobs to increase take-home pay (28%), asking
for a more flexible work schedule (27%), switching from a full-time to
part-time schedule (27%), and becoming a stay-at-home parent (22%). In
retrospect, nearly one in four parents (24%) wouldn't have made the same
career decisions given the cost of child care.

What Can Parents Do to Reduce the Cost of Care?
There are
several ways families can mitigate the high costs of child care. Once
families know how much they can afford, they can pinpoint the most
feasible child care option by researching the current rates in their
area with free, interactive tools, like local
nanny rates
and nanny
tax calculators
. Families can also take advantage of tax
breaks
that can save thousands of dollars.

"Many families miss out on saving a considerable amount of money through
tax breaks available to them," says Kerri Swope, Vice President of Care.com
HomePay
, a leading provider of comprehensive household payroll, tax
and HR services. "Contributing to a Dependent Care Flexible Spending
Account (FSA) can help families save as much as $2,300 per year—but the
Care.com 2018 Cost of Care Survey found that only 55% of families
actually contribute to one. In addition to the FSA, families can take
advantage of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which can save up
to $600 for families with one child and $1,200 for families with two or
more children."

Can Employers Help Working Parents and Their Companies?
Another
way working families are affording care? They're looking to their
employers. Over half of American families (53%) agree that workplaces
should provide benefits— such as flexible work schedules and paid
parental leave—to support working families. However, an overwhelming 81%
of working parents say their employer doesn't offer any kind of child
care benefits, with 83% wishing they did. And businesses should note
that 72% of parents say their work day has been impacted by child care
falling through, with 67% using a sick day, 56% being late to work, 39%
using a vacation day, and 26% falling behind on work as a result.

"The Care.com 2018 Cost of Care Survey clearly shows more and more
working parents are realizing that child care costs have a substantial
impact on their careers," said Alyssa Johnson, Vice President of Global
Account Management for Care@Work,
Care.com's enterprise solution helping companies support working
families. "The reality is that while child care needs are unpredictable,
the impact on a business is not. When care breaks down, people miss
work. They can't focus and they leave jobs. The employers we've worked
with realize that in order to maintain an engaged, productive workforce
they need to provide care support to their working parents, which in
turn significantly influences a company's overall performance and
bottom-line results."

How Do Parents Feel About the Country's Cost of Care?
Despite
the increase in families budgeting for child care and finding ways to
reduce costs, families are still struggling. Over half of families (55%,
up from 53% in 2017) agree that American culture does not do enough to
support working parents when it comes to the cost of care, and nearly
half of families (46%) wish the United States subsidized child care
costs as some other countries do.

About the Care.com 2018 Cost of Care Data
The
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 Care.com 2018 Cost of Care Survey captured responses from more than
1,300 parents in the United States during the month of May 2018.
Respondents were recruited from Care.com.

Weekly rates for a nanny and after-school sitter are based on Care.com
2017 member data, child care center and family care center rates are
based on rate information from centers listed on Care.com, and 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 in relation to the U.S.
Census Bureau's 2016 American Community Survey
that includes the
state median family income of households with children.

For more information about the survey, sources, or to learn helpful tips
on saving, visit Care.com/costofcare.
Employers can also find helpful tips on how to best support their
working families at www.care.com/careatwork.

About 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 16.2 million
families and 12.2 million caregivers* across more than 20 countries,
including the U.S., UK, Canada and parts of Western Europe, and
approximately 1.4 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 Care.com Benefits, including the household
payroll and tax services provided by Care.com 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, Care.com 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.
Headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Care.com has offices in Berlin,
Austin and the San Francisco Bay area.
*As of March 2018

View Comments and Join the Discussion!