New Data from U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau Shows Child Care Remains Out of Financial Reach for Many U.S. Families

National Database of childcare prices map of the United States

Childcare prices are expensive and burdensome for many U.S. families. The U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau recently released a suite of resources – including the newly launched National Database of Childcare Prices (NDCP) and a new brief –which underscore the urgent need for more federal investment in child care.  

The NDCP, the most comprehensive federal source of childcare prices in the United States, offers childcare price data for center- and home-based providers caring for children ages 0-12. New interactive maps provide childcare prices in over 2,300 counties throughout the country.  

What Are Some Key Findings?

  • Child care is a significant expense for families with children in paid care all throughout the country. 
  • In 2018, the median yearly childcare prices for one child ranged from $4,810 to $15,417. Adjusted for inflation, this equals between $5,357 and $17,171 in 2022 dollars. Prices varied based on care provider setting, children’s age group, and county size. 
  • These childcare prices represent about 8.0% to 19.3% of median family income per child. 
  • Child care is most out of financial reach for families with young children, who have multiple children needing care, and for lower-income families.  
  • Our new brief shows that where childcare prices are high, mothers are less likely to be employed outside the home. The NDCP will allow researchers and policymakers around the country to measure potential economic impacts of childcare affordability and identify strategies for enhancing employment options and economic security for women.  

How Can You Access the Data?

The release includes a brief summarizing the key highlights, interactive maps, a blog, and access to the NDCP's publicly available data. 

Graphic showing median annual price of child care for one child as a share of median family income.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau