Childcare Costs More Than College in These 28 States, New Study Shows

In places like North Carolina and California, parents can expect to pay almost $5,000 more in childcare than they would for in-state college tuition.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published October 3, 2023
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Image: Andrey_Kuzmin | Shutterstock

There’s no denying that the price of childcare is far outpacing what’s affordable for many parents, but now it seems to be outpacing college tuition costs as well.

As the United States grapples with a childcare crisis and the impending “childcare cliff,” the expenses associated with childcare have skyrocketed. And while parents may have the chance to save up for their child’s college tuition or help them hunt for scholarships, help and prior planning when it comes to affording childcare isn’t so accessible.

According to a recent eye-opening study from NetCredit, childcare expenses now outpace in-state college tuition in 28 out of 50 states. The lending partner researched the average annual fees paid for public and private college tuition and the average cost of childcare in each US state before calculating the difference in yearly fees paid for childcare and in-state college tuition.

On average, parents are shelling out a staggering $1,031 more annually for childcare compared to public college tuition. In states like California and North Carolina, parents can expect to pay almost $6,000 more in childcare than they would for in-state college tuition. In Hawaii and New York, where childcare providers are few and the cost of living is high, childcare costs eclipse in-state college tuition by a jaw-dropping $15,000+ per year.

Netcredit also compared childcare and tuition costs to local average salaries to find the affordability of each in every state. Childcare proves to be the most affordable in Utah, where annual costs are equal to 7.87 percent of the average annual salary and least affordable in Hawaii, New York and New Jersey, where costs exceed 20% of the average annual salary.

You can see a full list of all 28 states where childcare costs outpace in-state college tuition below.

Image: NetCredit
Image: NetCredit

If you are struggling to afford childcare, check out these five tips for cutting childcare costs.

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