Jun 22, 2023 - News

Child care costs are burdening Virginia parents

Average annual cost of center-based care for a toddler, by state
Data: Annie E. Casey Foundation; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

A lack of accessible, affordable child care is forcing some Virginia parents to quit their jobs, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Why it matters: The report released last week shows how deeply families struggle to stay afloat while working and paying for child care, writes Axios' Astrid Galván.

  • In 2021, 8% of Virginia children lived with a family member who quit, changed or refused a job because of child care issues.

Zoom in: The average annual cost for center-based toddler care in Virginia last year was $11,579 ($965 a month).

  • That's 32% of the median income for single mothers, or 9% for married couples, according to the report, which is based on the U.S. Census Bureau's 2022 National Database of Childcare Prices.
  • Home-based care cost an average of $8,843 ($737 a month), or 25% of a single mother's median income and 7% for a couple.

Comparatively, the average annual cost of one year of undergraduate, in-state tuition at a public university that same year was $13,554, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Worth noting: Nearly 68% of Virginia children under the age of six are in households where all parents work.

Zoom out: The average annual national cost of child care for one kid in 2021 was $10,600, the report found.

  • Child care costs have increased by 220% since 1990, outpacing inflation, per the report.

The big picture: The inaccessibility of child care disproportionately affects women, single parents, families of color, immigrant families and those who live in poverty, experts say.

What they're saying: "The childcare costs can be so burdensome that they struggle to pay their rent, to buy food, to buy diapers and clothing for their children," says Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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