Feb 17, 2023 - News

Houston parents luck out on lower babysitter rates

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Houston parents, rejoice. Babysitting rates have declined in the city, while climbing throughout the rest of the country.

Driving the news: Babysitting rates for one child fell 3% in Houston in 2022, according to survey results from caregiver-finding platform UrbanSitter provided to Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson.

  • It dropped even more — 17%— for two kids.

By the numbers: Last year's average babysitting rate on UrbanSitter in Houston was $17.84 an hour for one child and $18.77 for two.

  • In 2021, it was $18.39 for one child and $22.73 for two.

Zoom out: Nationally, babysitting rates for one child rose 9.7% to $22.68 an hour — 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.

Between the lines: A lot of the teachers, nurses and early childhood education specialists turned to caretaking during the pandemic and drove up the prices of babysitting because of their experience.

  • But in Houston, many have now left, which is likely why the average rate has decreased, UrbanSitter founder and CEO Lynn Perkins tells Axios Houston.
  • Perkins also notes that there are a lot of babysitters and caretakers in the Houston area, which means lower rates.

What they're saying: "[The decline] is probably a combination of a correction to the market, like where inflation just got a little out of control and growth of supply and then the reduction of teachers, daycare workers and nurses on the platform," Perkins said.

Of note: H-Town families also reported tipping and offering other benefits to sitters, such as transportation.

The big picture: Rates are up nationwide across all categories of care, from casual babysitting to full-time nannies to day cares (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."

Meanwhile, working parents increasingly expect more child care support from employers and the government, a recent KinderCare report found.

  • Child care benefits are the second-highest reason parents stay at their job, behind health insurance, per KinderCare, which partnered with the Harris Poll to survey 2,800 U.S. parents with children under 12.
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