LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A new report says that the high cost of child care in California is exceeded only by the cost of housing – but not by much.
The cost of full-time, center-based care for two children continues to be the biggest household expense in most parts of the U.S., according to Child Care Aware of America, which released its 10th annual report Wednesday.READ MORE: 2 Dead, 1 Injured After Pursuit Ends In Crash In Willowbrook
“Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2016” continues to show that families can’t afford child care in 49 of 50 states, Child Care Aware officials said.
“Our 10th anniversary report is being released at a critical juncture for our nation. We continue to partner with policymakers and the new administration to make child care a national priority and to ensure quality, affordable, accessible child care is a reality for all working families,” Lynette Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware of America, said in a statement. “If we don’t invest in our nation’s child care system, future generations will continue to be affected.”
The cost of childcare is steepest for California’s poorest families: having a child in center-based care eats up nearly 83 percent of the budget of a married family at the poverty line. For more affordable home-based care, the costs eat up almost 62 percent of that same family’s budget.
According to the report, California ranks second only to Hawaii in the top 10 least affordable states for center-based infant care in 2015, with single parents with a median income of $26,482 spending as much as 50 percent of their income on care.READ MORE: LA County Animal Services Launches Campaign To Find Big Dogs Forever Homes
Costs don’t ease up as the little ones get older – California ranks No. 9 in the top 10 least affordable states for family child care for a 4-year-old in 2015, with single parents spending 30 percent of their incomes for a preschooler.
There’s not much in the way of savings as children enter kindergarten either. California still ranks No. 9 among the top 10 least affordable states for 12 months of before or after-school family child care for a school-age child in 2015. Single parents are spending about 26 percent of their incomes on this type of care, just over a four percent drop from what was spent on a preschooler in full-time care.
According to the report, while annual hourly earnings rose by more than 1 percent in 2014, the average cost of infant care in a center increased nearly 6 percent and, in a family child care environment, by 4.5 percent.
In 30 states and the District of Columbia, its actually cheaper to send a child to public college at an annual cost of $9,173, versus the annual expense of center-based infant care at $11,817.
Yet, even with the steep costs of childcare, childcare workers in California — who are required to be licensed to operate a home daycare and frequently have advanced degrees in childcare and early education — earn an annual income of just $26,050. In 14 states, more than 100 percent of the median child care teacher’s income is needed to put two children in center-based care, according to the report.MORE NEWS: 3 Dead, 2 Injured When Gunfire Erupts At House Party In Inglewood
The report cites the growing presence of mothers in the workforce, with more of them becoming the primary income earner, and the increasing need for nontraditional hours of care for employees working off-hours and inconsistent schedules as among the reasons for the rising costs of childcare.