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, from state to state, and city to city.
Using data from the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, 24/7 Wall St. identified the metro area in each state where families pay the least for child care. Metro areas in each state were ranked on estimated child care expenditure in 2022 for two children, age four and eight.
It is important to note that four states – Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont – each have only one metro area. As a result, the metro area in these places ranks as having the lowest child care costs by default only. Among the metro areas on this list, estimated average child care costs range from $8,321 up to $25,798 – and in most cases, they are over $500 less than the statewide average. 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 residents can afford. In the vast majority of metro areas on this list, the median annual family income is below the median across the state as a whole. Here is a look at the income needed to be middle class in each state.
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