Childcare Is Getting Eye-Poppingly Expensive

$20.57 per hour specifically, according to research from UrbanSitters
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2022 2:30 PM CST
Labor Squeeze Pushes Babysitting Rates to $20/Hour
A babysitter and her young charge   (fizkes)

(Newser) – Date night is a pretty pricey endeavor these days, that is, if you need someone to mind the kiddos at home. The same holds for working parents who rely on paid childcare. According to research by UrbanSitter, American parents with one child are forking over an average $20.57 per hour these days, compared to $18.36 in 2021. That's a 12% rise—the overall labor shortage and COVID are thought to be the big drivers—and as Axios points out, that's well ahead of the 7% rate of inflation. This is all good news to UrbanSitter CEO Lynn Perkins, who tells Axios, "I think caregivers are finally getting the rates that they deserve."

She also noted the high rates are bringing sitters with "big credentials" into the market, including teachers, nurses, and early learning specialists, many of whom feel burned out from the pandemic and are looking for new opportunities. Indeed, CBS News reports that if anything, there are fewer teenage sitters out there than previously. It bases this on the fact that they're being so strongly wooed by restaurants and other businesses, and facing an unemployment rate that hasn't been this low since 1953. CBS points to a Washington Post report that found that between February 2020 and August 2021, the childcare industry shed more than 125,000 workers, or about 12% of the total.

In every region of the country, higher childcare costs mean families are going deeper in debt, parents (especially women) are leaving the workforce, and younger couples are delaying plans to have children. President Biden even mentioned the issue in his State of the Union earlier this month, noting "many" families spend more than $14,000 per child for care. In Bloomberg's view, Biden actually "failed to fully capture just how expensive things have gotten for some American families." For example, in single-parent households, expenses can reach 35% of income, and there are "distinctive differences" in costs from state to state, Bloomberg notes. (Read more babysitter stories.)

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