How Much Does Child Care Cost?

From nanny to au pair to day care. Learn about your different care options, what they mean for your wallet and how you can save money.
Katie Bugbee, Senior Managing Editor,

Child care is expensive. Year over year, it’s the largest annual household expense, averaging $18,000 for families in the United States. And it’s an ongoing topic of discussion for parents everywhere.

The 2015 Report states that the weekly average cost of a nanny for one child is $477, while only $488 for two children. The average weekly cost of a day care center  is $188 for one child and $341 for two. A family day care provider (also called in-home day care) is the least expensive option at $140 for one child and $267 for two. And an au pair is $360 a week for either one or two children. is committed to helping families manage all their all family care needs, whether it’s finding nannies or babysitters, day care connections, au pair matching, housekeepers, tutors, pet care or senior care help. But honestly, what we can’t do is control the cost.

We can, however, share insights on how to budget, save and use Flexible Spending Accounts and tax breaks to help rein in your care costs, and even offer some suggestions about how your employers can help as well.

Below is the 2nd Annual Cost of Care infographic, breaking down the cost and effect of child care on families and companies. Learn more about the 2015 Cost of Care survey.

child care infographic
See how this compares to the 2014 Cost of Child Care Report.

Learn how to create a child care budget.

Click to see our 2015 sources.

Check out child care near you:
Lemon Grove, CA
Las Vegas, NV
Highlands Ranch, CO
Barnhart, MO
Los Alamitos, CA
Or take a look at some other care options:
Or take a look at some other care options:
Get the right care—
right when you need it.
Get the right care—right when you need it.
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(7) Comments
Siobhan N.
Siobhan N.
As a care provider and a mother of two my spouse and I have two different perspectives . When we hire a sitter for our girls (for date nights only ) we pay a different rate than would be asked of during the day . Now as a sitter myself I suggest a contract ..!!! 10000 I feel like words on paper open communication and relief . If you are hiring a care provider keep things in perspective have a list of your expectations and don't beat your self up when you decide that person is not right for your child or your family . I so suggest as a parent and also as a care provider that you talk about vacations , weddings, babies and any other wonderful life moment you would like to attend . It has been in our experience that parents go away and do not consider about the sitters finances when they are away a lot . Your sitter is going to be a big part of your life and putting all of these things on paper will make your structure as a well rounded employee and employer relationship you can renew the contract every 3 - 6months if you choose . I suggest from being on both ends that you discuss what is expected on daily schedules each week and grow with it. Life is fast paced and forever changing and why not make it easy on yourself chatting with your cafe provided once a week . You have enough stress ! Lastly enjoy the journey and communication is so important . Remember this is all in our perspective and none of my advice or all of my advice is going to work for you . Keep and open mind and make a wise choice for your needs. Best wishes . From our family to yours
May 7, 2015 at 11:34 AM
Childcare Solutions
Childcare Solutions
I would like to see the cost per spent on Day Care & nanny (in-home) care broken down by Household Income, not the average by location. I think it would tell an entirely different story.
September 27, 2014 at 1:42 PM
I like this information very good.
September 25, 2014 at 4:52 PM
Mary's House
Mary's House
I have a degree in elementary education and have been a child care provider in my home for the last 20 years. I make only an average of 25K a year, and I live in Oregon, which is on your list as one of the most expensive states for child care! Please remember that although costs seem high, self employed family providers are barely getting by, especially if they are the sole earners for their families.
September 25, 2014 at 1:24 PM
Ann D.
Ann D.
This is great information for parents, and I would like to add one more point which to consider. When hiring a care provider for your child it is important to offer an appropriate wage for all the task you want done as well as including a minimum of 1.00 per hour per additional child per hour.

I realize all parents want the very best care for their children. There are Nannies that have been caring for children professionally for many years. As well there are others who are doing this because it sounds easy and it will do until they find something better.

When hiring either of the two mentioned, please be fair. If you have multiple children, especially infants and toddlers, that require being cared for and kept safe, and entertained, and having them involved in all sorts of activities, and want you house cleaned and laundry for everyone including mom and dad, and you want meals prepared for the family, and pets cared for, and you want this Nanny to use her personal vehicle to transport you children you will have to offer more than 11.00 per hour. What you never want is someone resenting you because they are not able to pay their rent, or have their vehicle maintained or even buy groceries. I realize that many people will say they are single moms and can only afford 8.00 per hour, that is minimum wage and for quality child care, a housekeeper, a dog walker, and the use of a vehicle that is not a fair wage. There are people that do each of those tasks listed as a job. If you had to hire each one individually you would be paying a great deal more. I do realize that the economy has been slow but doesn't everyone deserve to be paid for what they do? The yearly costs for CPR/First aid certification, background check, and additional courses that a good Nanny will take all costs money, as does vehicle maintenance and insurance, and then the wear and tear on their vehicle. Every wants those things for their children because it sounds like a great deal to you. It shouldn't cost a Nanny money to go to work. Not taking all of these things into consideration will have you ending up with someone who will be resentful and I for one would never want a resentful person caring for my baby.

Think about it.....would you do it?
June 30, 2014 at 11:59 PM
I guess I'm moving to Maryland so I can hire a nanny!
June 20, 2014 at 11:23 AM
This is really helpful! Now I know where to start
June 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM

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