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.
Update: The 2016 report from Child Care Aware is now available.
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.