Child care is an essential service that helps working parents balance their responsibilities at home and work. As the demand for child care services continues to rise, so does the need for reliable statistics and data to help policymakers, providers, and families make informed decisions.
In this post, we’ll explore child care statistics that shed light on the current state of child care in the United States and beyond.
Key Child Care Statistics 2023 – MY Choice
- In 2019, there were approximately 11.9 million children under the age of 5 in the United States who required some form of child care.
- According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, 60% of children ages 0-5 spend at least some time in child care.
- The average cost of full-time child care for infants and toddlers in the United States is $9,000 to $9,600 per year.
- Approximately 25% of families with children under the age of 5 reported difficulty finding affordable, high-quality child care.
- Women are more likely to be the primary caregiver for children under the age of 18, with 83% of mothers compared to 17% of fathers.
- Child care workers in the United States earn an average hourly wage of $10.72.
- The turnover rate for child care workers is high, with some estimates suggesting a turnover rate of 30-40%.
- In 2019, there were approximately 1.3 million child care providers in the United States, including family child care providers and center-based providers.
- Child care providers are required to meet certain health and safety standards, including background checks, CPR certification, and regular inspections.
- Studies have shown that high-quality early childhood education and care can have a positive impact on children’s development and future academic success.
Child Care Stats
Table 1: Child Care Costs and Access
|Working families spending more than $10,000 on child care||57%|
|Americans living in communities classified as child care deserts||51%|
|Average household income spent on child care||10%|
|Working parents who rely on child care centers||58%|
|Families with difficulty accessing child care unable to find an open child care slot||27%|
|Children under the age of five who cannot access a child care slot||31.7%|
|Cost of child care for family care center||$300/week|
|Cost of child care for child care or daycare center||$340/week|
|Cost of child care for a nanny||$612/week|
Table 2: Mothers and Child Care
|Mothers with young children impacted negatively||40%|
|Stay-at-home mothers who would enter the workforce||20%|
|Mothers who do not currently work would look for a job if they had better access to quality child care||20%|
|Working mothers who would look for a higher paying job||42%|
|Working mothers who would seek additional schooling or training||29%|
|Decline in employment of mothers due to child care||13%|
|Percentage of young mothers who work||69%|
|Percentage of Black mothers who are breadwinners||71%|
Table 3: Child Care Usage
|Infants and toddlers attending home-based child care facilities||29.5%|
|Infants and toddlers cared for exclusively by a parent or guardian||37.7%|
|Home-based child care that is unpaid||52%|
|Primary care experience for infants and toddlers provided by unpaid care||15.4%|
|Working parents with children under five using center-based child care||58%|
|Working parents not relying on outside child care||31%|
|Working parents relying on non-relatives for child care||25%|
|Working parents relying on relatives for child care||47%|
Table 4: COVID-19 and Child Care
|Child care slots that could be lost due to COVID-19||4 million|
|Parents with young children unable to work without child care||22%|
|Families who say child care is more expensive due to the pandemic||72%|
|Families who say child care is less expensive due to the pandemic||6%|
|Families who find it harder to access child care compared to pre-pandemic||46%|
Child Care Enrollment and Access Statistics
- In 2020, there were over 12 million children under the age of 5 in the United States, and 33% of them were enrolled in some form of child care program.
- The cost of child care varies widely across states, ranging from an average of $5,125 per year in Mississippi to $22,631 in the District of Columbia.
- In 2020, only 1 in 6 eligible children received child care assistance from the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program.
- In rural areas, families are more likely to face challenges accessing child care services due to limited availability and longer travel times.
- According to a survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 85% of families reported difficulty finding affordable, high-quality child care in their community.
Child Care Provider Statistics
- In 2020, there were over 277,000 licensed child care centers and family child care homes in the United States.
- Family child care homes accounted for 65% of all licensed child care providers, while child care centers accounted for 35%.
- The turnover rate for child care providers is high, with an average turnover rate of 26% in 2019.
- Child care providers are predominantly women, with over 94% of providers being female.
- The average hourly wage for child care workers in the United States was $11.65 in 2020, and only 1 in 5 child care workers receive health insurance benefits from their employer.
Child Care Quality and Safety Statistics
- In 2020, only 10 states met all 10 quality benchmarks for child care established by the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER).
- Child care providers are required to meet certain safety standards, but only 23 states require annual inspections for licensed child care providers.
- In 2019, there were over 21,000 child care-related injuries treated in emergency departments across the United States.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on child care safety and quality, with many providers struggling to maintain health and safety protocols while continuing to provide care.
- High-quality child care has been shown to have long-term benefits for children, including improved cognitive, social, and emotional development.
|Cost of lost earnings, productivity, and revenue||$57 billion each year|
|Decline in employment of mothers with young children||13%|
|Percentage of mothers in labor force||Almost 70%|
|Percentage of mothers as sole or primary breadwinners||42%|
|Eligible families receiving subsidies||15%|
|Percentage of eligible 3 to 5-year-olds served||One-third|
|Percentage of eligible children under age 3 served||7%|
|Estimated lost wages due to lack of child care||$8.3 billion per year|
|Earnings difference after taking a year off work||40% lower compared to those who did not take time off|
|Reasons for difficulty finding child care||Cost (31%), lack of open slots (27%), and quality (22%)|
|Families not finding desired child care program||Did not use child care (64%) or used care from a relative (24%)|
|Income level affecting access to child care||Lower income families have more difficulty finding care|
|Annual cost of center-based child care for black family||42% of median income|
|Difficulty finding care for infants and toddlers||56% reported difficulty compared to 45% for preschoolers|
|Employed mothers who found a child care program||89% compared to 77% who did not|
|Effect on father’s employment of finding child care||No significant difference observed|
|Employment rate among single mothers finding care||84% compared to 67% who did not|
|Employment rate among mothers in two-parent households finding care||90% compared to 84% who did not|
|Changes mothers would make if they had better child care access||Look for a higher paying job (42%) and ask for more hours at work (31%)|
|Desire for better child care access among African American and Hispanic mothers||Over 50% would look for higher paying job|
|Stay-at-home parents and access to child care||Millions of women might join the labor force|
|Affordable child care enabling mothers to enter the workforce||1.6 million more mothers|
|Cap on child care payments||Capping payments at 10% of family income yields $70 billion annually and increases GDP by 1.2%|
|CCWFA to make child care more affordable||Limits child care payments to 7% of incomes on a sliding scale and enables an estimated 1.6 million parents to enter the workforce|
|Percentage of children in nonparental care||Approximately 59% of children aged 5 and under not enrolled in kindergarten|
|Percentage of children with more than one type of regularly scheduled weekly nonparental care||11%|
|Most common location for primary center-based care||A building of its own|
|Percentage distribution of quality rating of child care arrangements of children at about 4 years of age||By type of arrangement and selected child and family characteristics|
|Percentage of 3- to 5-year-old children enrolled in school||By age and selected child and family characteristics|
|Cost of child care as a percentage of monthly family income||Stayed constant at around 7% between 1997 and 2011|
Child Care Workforce Statistics
- The child care workforce is predominantly made up of women, with women accounting for over 90% of child care workers.
- The average annual turnover rate for child care workers is 30%, with turnover rates even higher for workers in lower-paid positions.
- Child care workers are more likely to live in poverty than workers in other occupations, with 15% of child care workers living below the poverty line.
Child Care Affordability Statistics
Affordability is a major concern for many families when it comes to child care. Here are some statistics that shed light on the issue:
- In the United States, the average cost of full-time center-based child care for a child under 5 is $9,589 per year. (Source: Child Care Aware of America)
- In 2019, the average cost of child care for a family with two children was nearly $22,000 per year. (Source: Child Care Aware of America)
- The cost of child care can be a significant burden for families, with some spending as much as 36% of their income on child care expenses. (Source: Economic Policy Institute)
- In a survey of working parents, 86% said that the cost of child care is a financial strain. (Source: Care.com)