During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents with children under the age of 18 left the workforce. With schools across the country shifting to remote learning, it made more financial sense for many parents to give up their job and stay home with their children rather than pay for child care – especially as child care costs skyrocketed during the pandemic.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, a family with two children, age four and eight, is projected to pay an average of $16,659 on child care in 2022. This amount varies across the country, however, and in many major metropolitan areas, child care costs are thousands less than average.
Using data from the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 metro areas where families pay the least for child care. Metro areas are ranked on estimated child care expenditure in 2022 for two children, age four and eight.
Among the metro areas on this list, estimated average child care costs range from $11,493 down to $8,321. Without exception, every metro area on this list is in the South. Here is a look at the best and worst states to raise a family.
As is often the case with factors that affect cost of living, child care costs appear to be driven in part by what parents can afford. In every metro area on this list, the median family income is below the $80,069 the typical American family earns annually. Here is a look at the income needed to be middle class in each state.
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