WASHINGTON — D.C. has the highest child-care costs in the country, according to a report released Tuesday that analyzed the issue nationwide.
For married families, center-based care for infants takes roughly 14 percent of the couple’s income, according to this year’s “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care” report.
For single parents, it takes a whopping 88 percent on average, numbers show. Parents at the poverty line pay more than 100 percent of their income for center-based and home-based care, the report shows.
In 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended that families with two children spend no more than 10 percent of their income on child care. Almost nowhere in the U.S. are families able to meet that threshold, the report found.
That’s still not as bad as Maryland. Parents at the poverty line with two children pay 95 of their income toward center-based care. Single parents pay 38 percent of their income toward infant care.
However, Maryland parents with an infant and a 4-year-old pay $23,032 for child care, which exceeds the cost of a state public college tuition.The situation is a little better in Virginia, the numbers show. At $10,458 annually, the annual cost of infant care is slightly cheaper than the cost of a four-year public college.
Married families with two children who live along the poverty line pay 76 percent of their income for child care.
Last month, GoBankingRates.com ranked Virginia the fourth-cheapest place to raise a family, factoring in paid family leave, median state incomes and the costs of housing, food and child care.
Still, the child care issue has gotten so dire that, in the report, a group of child-care advocates has asked Congress to take swift action.
Among its recommendations outlined in the report, the group wants adequate pre-kindergarten programs, expanded child-care tax credits and better options to offset the rising cost of health care.
“Ensuring child care is high quality, affordable, and available for families is crucial to our nation’s ability to produce and sustain an economically viable, competitively positioned workforce in the future,” said Child Care Aware of America’s Executive Director Lynette M. Fraga.