Child care costs more than college in Minnesota, report says


A new report says it's more expensive to put your child in day care than college.

The group Child Care Aware found that the annual cost of day care for an infant exceeds the average cost of in-state tuition and fees at public colleges in 31 states, including Minnesota.

The difference between putting a child in day care ($13,876 annually) and public college tuition ($10,388 annually) is $3,488 in Minnesota, which puts the state on the higher end of the day care/college cost spectrum, reports the Washington Post, which analyzed the data and created a U.S. map interactive.

Be glad you don't live in New York – day care will set you back nearly $15,000, which is $8,000 more than in-state college tuition. Massachusetts, Colorado and Oregon are also near the top.

The numbers are eye-opening statistics for new parents, who have years to save to pay for college, but very little time to save for child care. The Washington Post says parents can take 18 years to save up for the cost of college, so given that the average age of a mother having her first child is about 26, parents would need to start saving for day care when they are roughly 8 years old.

The rising cost of child care may help explain why the number of stay-at-home moms is on the rise, Pew Research says. Data released by Pew Research on Tuesday says after a decade of decline, the number of mothers who don't work outside the home rose to 29 percent in 2012, up from a modern-era low of 23 percent in 1999.

2010 Census paper said that “for mothers who have more than one child under 5, the cost of day care might be higher than she could support unless she has fairly high earnings.”

Pew says that only 5 percent of married stay-at-home moms with working husbands had a family income exceeding $75,000. The data suggest that mothers are staying home because they have too little money, rather than too much, the Washington Post says.

More generally, in addition to having a high day care/college cost differential, Minnesota ranks as one of the most expensive places in the country for child care – Minnesota is the third-least affordable among all states for child care for a 4-year-old or an infant, based on the state median income for a married couple vs. what they have to pay for the care.

A married Minnesota couple making around $90,000 a year will spend 15 percent of that on child care, WCCO reported in 2013.

The Child Care Aware report details the weekly costs for child care by child age and location in Minnesota, click here for more details. A sampling:

– For the metro area: It costs on average $259.37 a week for a toddler at a child care center.
– For greater Minnesota: It costs on average $171.09 a week for a toddler at a child care center.
– For the state: It costs on average $230.29 a week for a toddler at a child care center.

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Cost of child care exceeds college tuition in Minn.

A new national report shows it costs more to place an infant in a Minnesota day care center than a year of state college tuition, the Star Tribune reports. The advocacy group Child Aware of America names Minnesota the nation's second costliest state for center-based day care. The newspaper writes one year of infant care in a center cost $13,579 in Minnesota, while one year for a preschooler cost $10,470. In 17 states, a year of infant care cost less than $8,000.