Child care sector marked by fewer providers and increased prices amid pandemic
Nearly 16,000 child care providers, 8,900 child care centers and 7,000 licensed family child care programs permanently closed from December 2019 to March 2021, according to a new report from Child Care Aware of America.
“Parents continue to struggle to find and afford child care as they re-enter the workforce,” said Lynette M. Fraga, CEO of Child Care Aware. “Child care programs are short-staffed, and providers are burned out. And still, too few children have access to high-quality early learning experiences to prepare them for success in school and beyond. Without large-scale investments in our child care system, such as the Build Back Better Act, these trends will continue.”
The data, which examines child care supply, demand and affordability, also shows that the national annual average price of child care in 2020 was around $10,174, a 5% increase from 2019.
Other key findings include that, in 3 out of 4 regions of the country, the annual price of center-based child care for an infant exceeds the cost of housing. Across the nation, the annual price of child care exceeds the annual cost of in‑state tuition at a public four‑year university.