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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

November 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Washington among states with least-affordable child care

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Here’s some sobering news for new parents:

In Washington, putting two kids through day care — one infant and one 4-year-old — will cost about the same as a typical home-mortgage payment.

In fact, according to a new report, Washington is among the nation’s 10 least-affordable states for child care.

Child Care Aware of America, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, found that one year of infant care in Washington costs, on average, $12,108.  That pencils out to 14.3 percent of the median income for a married couple, and ranks Washington as the ninth least-affordable state for infant care.

The average cost of day care for a 4-year-old here ($9,240) amounts to 10.9 percent of a married couple’s income, ranking Washington as the eighth least-affordable among the states.

The situation is worse for a couple with kids in the Seattle area than it is in many other parts of the state.  Compared with rural areas, the cost of infant care in urban parts of the state is 42 percent higher.  For 4-year-old care, it’s 31 percent higher.  Washington’s urban-rural cost gaps are among the 10 widest in the nation.

Bad as it is in Washington, Oregon is even worse.  The Beaver State ranks No. 1 as the least affordable state for care of both infants and 4-year-olds.

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