Feb 13, 2023 - News

Seattle's among the priciest places to hire a babysitter

Change in babysitting rates, 2021 to 2022
Data: UrbanSitter; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

Seattle remains one of the most expensive places in the country to hire a babysitter.

Driving the news: Babysitting rates rose about 16% in Seattle in 2022, according to survey results from caregiver-finding platform UrbanSitter provided to Axios.

  • That put Seattle's average hourly babysitting rate for one child at $24.60, up from $21.23 the previous year.

State of play: Of more than three dozen cities or metro areas surveyed by UrbanSitter, Seattle's rate was the second highest.

  • Only San Francisco had a higher average babysitting rate in 2022, at $25.24 per hour for one child.
  • Springfield, Missouri, was home to the lowest rate, at $11.35.

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.

Yes, but: UrbanSitter's pay rates are on the high side compared with those suggested by Care.com and Sittercity.

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.

The bottom line: 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."

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