Childcare vs. Rent: Which Expense Is Hurting Families More?

parents paying a bill wearing babyIf it ever feels as though you're working simply to pay for childcare, it may be because you actually are. For most of the United States, childcare is more expensive than rent.

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That's right -- the roof over your head probably isn't what's breaking the bank; it's the daycare you're sending your little one to so that you can make it to the office to pay for your household's cost of living.

In fact, according to a report released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), in some areas of the country like Washington, DC, and New York, childcare is actually a whopping three times more expensive than one year of tuition at a standard in-state university.

So, if your kiddo isn't walking out of daycare with a four-year diploma Doogie Howser–style, what's the reason for the crazy price hike?

Not surprisingly, they're blaming it on millennials (they get all of the flack, don't they?). As more of that generation procreates, the demand for daycare increases more than spots readily available, which in turn drives up the price.

Essentially this is cause for concern on two levels -- first, there's worry that families simply can't afford childcare (especially those scraping by on minimum wage). Then, there's the thought that it will throw the economy out of whack if one parent will choose to drop out of the workforce in order to stay home with the kids and save on care.

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Either way, it puts families in an incredibly difficult position and the stresses can even outweigh the financial cost. If one parent is forced to quit his or her job to stay home with the kids, how does a couple decide who will make the sacrifice? And will these out-of-control costs make families reconsider how many children they can actually afford?

So many questions and so few easy solutions.

 

Image via Steve Debenport/iStock

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