California ranks as the sixth least affordable state for infant and toddler child care and the 16th least affordable for 4-year-old care, according to a report released Tuesday by Child Care Aware, a national training, research and advocacy organization for child care professionals. Affordability was calculated by dividing the average cost of care by the state median income.

The average cost of infant care at child care centers in California is $12,068 annually, according to the report. By comparison, annual tuition and fees are about $12,912 at University of California campuses this year for California residents.

Care for 4-year-olds is less expensive because state law allows a higher student teacher ratio for older students. Child Care Aware found that the average cost of 4-year-old care at legally operating centers in California is $8,407 annually.

The Child Care Aware report was compiled with data provided by the states’ Child Care and Referral State Network offices. Like several other states, California did not provide 2012 data. The latest data California was able to provide was from 2009, so the numbers in the report have been adjusted for inflation.

Lillian Mongeau covers early childhood education. Contact her or follow her @lrmongeau.

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  1. Lillian Mongeau 3 years ago3 years ago

    There's actually a whole section in the report about single parents and the affordability of child care for that population. I'd have to go back into the report to get all the exact numbers, but in many cases child care cost about half of a median single person's salary. I guess the calculation that would have to be done for a single-earner, two-parent household would be the difference between paid child care and the cost … Read More

    There’s actually a whole section in the report about single parents and the affordability of child care for that population. I’d have to go back into the report to get all the exact numbers, but in many cases child care cost about half of a median single person’s salary. I guess the calculation that would have to be done for a single-earner, two-parent household would be the difference between paid child care and the cost of supporting a second adult, plus children on one salary. Not to mention the long-term effect of one adult leaving the workforce and foregoing raises and retirement plan savings for some number of years. Not sure the solution is that obvious in this economy…

    Replies

    • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

      Hi Lillian. Yes, I was referring to the single-earner, two-parent version. And you are right that the arguments (and priorities) are economic. My point was to highlight that they usually are, even when we're talking about kids. That said, there are many 'ad-hoc studies' (by parents) out there who have decided to go back to the single-earner, dual parent household. It can actually have some family-level economic benefits, surprisingly enough. And while its true that subsidizing childcare … Read More

      Hi Lillian. Yes, I was referring to the single-earner, two-parent version. And you are right that the arguments (and priorities) are economic. My point was to highlight that they usually are, even when we’re talking about kids.

      That said, there are many ‘ad-hoc studies’ (by parents) out there who have decided to go back to the single-earner, dual parent household. It can actually have some family-level economic benefits, surprisingly enough.

      And while its true that subsidizing childcare has a societal-level economic benefit, it may also have other costs that are not borne out until much later. As long as we’re willing to ‘fund’ those costs, it seems we can accurately assess the eventual benefit. If we’re not, then we’re just prioritizing economics over the well-being of society.

  2. navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

    Well, the obvious solution would be to return to single earner households. That’s probably the thing that would get most people’s attention.

  3. Regis 3 years ago3 years ago

    Don't have kids you can't feed or take care of financially, period!!! We already have State program in place, that pays a huge portion of the population, to babysit each other's kids. It is no longer an emergency measure, but is now, just a part of the vast gravy train of benefits, that under the CALWORKS Benefit model, cost the TAXPAYER $36K a year, not including Section 8 housing, so why work? You know … Read More

    Don’t have kids you can’t feed or take care of financially, period!!! We already have State program in place, that pays a huge portion of the population, to babysit each other’s kids. It is no longer an emergency measure, but is now, just a part of the vast gravy train of benefits, that under the CALWORKS Benefit model, cost the TAXPAYER $36K a year, not including Section 8 housing, so why work?

    You know it’s bad, when Jerry Brown was considering taking on the Federal portion of the Food Stamp funding from the state. The LA Times article qouted State sources as to what the is spent in California each month on Food Stamps.

    The MONTHLY outlay for Food Stamps in California is $645 MILLION DOLLARS A MONTH!!! That is an incredible amount of money! And it ain’t free! Nothing is free!

    Replies

    • Lillian Mongeau 3 years ago3 years ago

      Just to be clear - the affordability number calculated here was based on the state's median income, not a poverty-level income. As you point out, those at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for federal- or state-funded care. (There aren't actually enough publicly funded spots to serve all eligible children, but that's another story.) So are you proposing that middle income Californians should forgo child rearing because of the expense? And … Read More

      Just to be clear – the affordability number calculated here was based on the state’s median income, not a poverty-level income. As you point out, those at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for federal- or state-funded care. (There aren’t actually enough publicly funded spots to serve all eligible children, but that’s another story.) So are you proposing that middle income Californians should forgo child rearing because of the expense?

      And to others on the thread: What solutions to the high cost of child care would you suggest?

      • Regis 3 years ago3 years ago

        "So are you proposing that middle income Californians should forgo child rearing because of the expense?" Bingo! That's exactly the right answer, you get an "A"! My wife and I waited until we were in our early thirties, had secure careers and finances and owned our own home AND THEN we had kids, because we could afford to. Just because the Democrats want to push an ever-growing package of entitlements to the increasing and ever-dependent … Read More

        “So are you proposing that middle income Californians should forgo child rearing because of the expense?”

        Bingo! That’s exactly the right answer, you get an “A”! My wife and I waited until we were in our early thirties, had secure careers and finances and owned our own home AND THEN we had kids, because we could afford to.

        Just because the Democrats want to push an ever-growing package of entitlements to the increasing and ever-dependent population, doesn’t mean that they should count on it! As an example, look at the recent legislated cut back of the SNAP program.

        The Gravy Train isn’t all that far from derailing, believe me. Wait until the QE ends, the market fails and the interest on the 10 Year bond climbs to 3.0% or better. The Fed has to refinance at least half of their current debt within the next five years. Ya think the interest rate will be zero by then?

        • Lillian Mongeau 3 years ago3 years ago

          With all due respect to you and your wife, not all double-earner families with two professional careers could manage what you have. I'm not arguing against your suggestion for managing when to have children, I'm just saying that the numbers about median incomes compared to cost-of-living in many parts of California show that even college-educated, steadily employed people are not reaching the standard you suggest before they turn 35. Two teachers living in the Bay … Read More

          With all due respect to you and your wife, not all double-earner families with two professional careers could manage what you have. I’m not arguing against your suggestion for managing when to have children, I’m just saying that the numbers about median incomes compared to cost-of-living in many parts of California show that even college-educated, steadily employed people are not reaching the standard you suggest before they turn 35. Two teachers living in the Bay Area, for example, would likely be unable to both buy a house and save enough to afford private preschool for one or two children by their early thirties.