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 care57%
Americans living in communities classified as child care deserts51%
Average household income spent on child care10%
Working parents who rely on child care centers58%
Families with difficulty accessing child care unable to find an open child care slot27%
Children under the age of five who cannot access a child care slot31.7%
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 negatively40%
Stay-at-home mothers who would enter the workforce20%
Mothers who do not currently work would look for a job if they had better access to quality child care20%
Working mothers who would look for a higher paying job42%
Working mothers who would seek additional schooling or training29%
Decline in employment of mothers due to child care13%
Percentage of young mothers who work69%
Percentage of Black mothers who are breadwinners71%

Table 3: Child Care Usage

Infants and toddlers attending home-based child care facilities29.5%
Infants and toddlers cared for exclusively by a parent or guardian37.7%
Home-based child care that is unpaid52%
Primary care experience for infants and toddlers provided by unpaid care15.4%
Working parents with children under five using center-based child care58%
Working parents not relying on outside child care31%
Working parents relying on non-relatives for child care25%
Working parents relying on relatives for child care47%

Table 4: COVID-19 and Child Care

Child care slots that could be lost due to COVID-194 million
Parents with young children unable to work without child care22%
Families who say child care is more expensive due to the pandemic72%
Families who say child care is less expensive due to the pandemic6%
Families who find it harder to access child care compared to pre-pandemic46%

Child Care Enrollment and Access Statistics

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In 2020, only 1 in 6 eligible children received child care assistance from the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program.
  4. In rural areas, families are more likely to face challenges accessing child care services due to limited availability and longer travel times.
  5. 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

  1. In 2020, there were over 277,000 licensed child care centers and family child care homes in the United States.
  2. Family child care homes accounted for 65% of all licensed child care providers, while child care centers accounted for 35%.
  3. The turnover rate for child care providers is high, with an average turnover rate of 26% in 2019.
  4. Child care providers are predominantly women, with over 94% of providers being female.
  5. 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

  1. In 2020, only 10 states met all 10 quality benchmarks for child care established by the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER).
  2. Child care providers are required to meet certain safety standards, but only 23 states require annual inspections for licensed child care providers.
  3. In 2019, there were over 21,000 child care-related injuries treated in emergency departments across the United States.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 children13%
Percentage of mothers in labor forceAlmost 70%
Percentage of mothers as sole or primary breadwinners42%
Eligible families receiving subsidies15%
Percentage of eligible 3 to 5-year-olds servedOne-third
Percentage of eligible children under age 3 served7%
Estimated lost wages due to lack of child care$8.3 billion per year
Earnings difference after taking a year off work40% lower compared to those who did not take time off
Reasons for difficulty finding child careCost (31%), lack of open slots (27%), and quality (22%)
Families not finding desired child care programDid not use child care (64%) or used care from a relative (24%)
Income level affecting access to child careLower income families have more difficulty finding care
Annual cost of center-based child care for black family42% of median income
Difficulty finding care for infants and toddlers56% reported difficulty compared to 45% for preschoolers
Employed mothers who found a child care program89% compared to 77% who did not
Effect on father’s employment of finding child careNo significant difference observed
Employment rate among single mothers finding care84% compared to 67% who did not
Employment rate among mothers in two-parent households finding care90% compared to 84% who did not
Changes mothers would make if they had better child care accessLook 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 mothersOver 50% would look for higher paying job
Stay-at-home parents and access to child careMillions of women might join the labor force
Affordable child care enabling mothers to enter the workforce1.6 million more mothers
Cap on child care paymentsCapping payments at 10% of family income yields $70 billion annually and increases GDP by 1.2%
CCWFA to make child care more affordableLimits 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 careApproximately 59% of children aged 5 and under not enrolled in kindergarten
Percentage of children with more than one type of regularly scheduled weekly nonparental care11%
Most common location for primary center-based careA building of its own
Percentage distribution of quality rating of child care arrangements of children at about 4 years of ageBy type of arrangement and selected child and family characteristics
Percentage of 3- to 5-year-old children enrolled in schoolBy age and selected child and family characteristics
Cost of child care as a percentage of monthly family incomeStayed constant at around 7% between 1997 and 2011

Child Care Workforce Statistics

  1. The child care workforce is predominantly made up of women, with women accounting for over 90% of child care workers.
  2. The average annual turnover rate for child care workers is 30%, with turnover rates even higher for workers in lower-paid positions.
  3. 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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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)
  4. In a survey of working parents, 86% said that the cost of child care is a financial strain. (Source:

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