Is child care more expensive in Colorado than other states?

Is child care more expensive in Colorado than other states?

Categories: Local News, Fox 31 KDVR
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(NEXSTAR) — Is finding child care in Colorado easier or tougher on parents' bank accounts than in other states? You be the judge.

Recently, personal finance outlet FinanceBuzz tried finding the best and worst states for child care by combing through data from child care advocacy group Child Care Aware of America, in addition to the Care Index and 2022 salary-to-average-cost reporting from U.S. News & World Report — and Colorado didn't fare very well.

In fact, Colorado made FinanceBuzz's list of the 10 worst states for child care, coming in at no. 5. Though the Centennial State was noted for its beautiful environment for family raising, it was majorly dinged for the cost of regular child care.

All-in-all, FinanceBuzz reports average child care in Colorado costs $10,613 per year. The Care Index also showed that at-home child care would run a family about $28,187 per year.

Based on FinanceBuzz's calculations, regular child care in Colorado will equal about 11.2% of two average incomes. For families living on a single income, child care would be about 34% of expenses. It's important to note that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers child care "affordable" when it costs no more than 7% of household income., which publishes an annual Cost of Care Report, says that of the 3,000 U.S. parents surveyed, 60% said they're spending 20% or more of their income on child care.

Even more staggering in Colorado, the Care Index shows child care would cost about 101% of income for a minimum wage earner.

A few other states showed even tougher figures, including California, where child care for a year costs $11,479 on average. This is still far below the average per year cost in Massachusetts, which ranked as the number 1 worst state for child care. Families in the Bay State will spend about $13,208 per year — which equals about 12% of income for couples and about 51.4% of income for single income households. explains that while some average child care cost figures have decreased since last year, there are several reasons that the cost is still negatively impacting parents and would-be parents. The outlet says that in addition to year-over-year inflation in other areas, 2024 was the first year after several pandemic-era child care aid programs ended.

With the $24 billion federal child care allotment gone, child care providers were left without support in areas, likely impacting staffing, hours and quality of care. In its economic analysis of the impact of this funding loss, The Century Foundation, an independent think tank, estimated that over 70,000 child care programs were likely to close, leaving 3.2 million children without a place to go.

Seventy-nine percent of parents told they expected to impacted by what's known as the "child care cliff." The majority of these people said they were preparing to spend $600 or more each month per child this year.

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