Feb 15, 2023 - Business

Babysitting costs climb in Chicago

Change in babysitting rates, 2021 to 2022
Arrow chart showing the change in babysitting rates for one child among bookings on UrbanSitter from 2021 to 2022. Data: UrbanSitter; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

Babysitting rates rose 13% in Chicago in 2022 from the year prior, according to survey results caregiver-finding platform UrbanSitter provided to Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson.

  • Still, it's cheaper here than much of the U.S.

The big picture: Nationally, babysitting rates rose 9.7% — a bit less than the 11% hike seen in 2021, but still outpacing inflation for the second year in a row.

  • That's a staggering 21% increase in just two years, according to UrbanSitter, which looked at booking data from 15,000 U.S. families.

Why it matters: A shortage of babysitters and other child care workers — and higher pay those remaining are able to command — is creating seismic ripples in the labor market, keeping some parents at home or in precarious care arrangements.

  • It's also attracting teachers, nurses and other trained professionals into the career — which in turn drives up rates, because of their experience.
  • In the other direction, day care workers are quitting for higher pay elsewhere — including at custodial jobs.

Between the lines: Rates are up across all categories of care, from casual babysitting to full-time nannies to day care (where it can be hard to even get on a waitlist).

  • Per a 2022 Care.com survey, 51% of U.S. parents were spending over 20% of their income on child care — far more than the 7% that the federal government deems "affordable."

Thought bubble: My kid is old enough to stay at home alone now, but this was a huge deal BEFORE the pandemic, where I was having to spend $60+ for a sitter just to go to dinner.

  • And you wonder why take-out heart-shaped pizzas are all the rage on Valentine's Day.

Go deeper

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

Chicagopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more