A new study by the Children's Defense Fund shows that parents in urban areas generally pay more for a year of quality child care than for a full year's in-state tuition at a public college or university. Child care for a four-year-old exceeded the cost of public college tuition in all states except Vermont.
Nationwide, the average cost of child care for all preschoolers in a family is $79 a week, or just over $4,000 a year, although it is considerably higher in many urban areas, particularly the Northeast.
Generally, families pay sixty percent of the cost of childcare and twenty-three percent of the cost of public college tuition and fees. By contrast, government contributes thirty-nine percent of the revenue for child care, and state governments provide forty-two percent of the revenue of public universities.
CDF's four-volume report, Child Care Challenges, provides state-by-state data on child-care costs, assistance available to low-income families, child-care quality and availability. For information or to order, call CDF at 202-628-8333.