Child Care Costs are Almost as Much as Rents

For the 35 percent of renters with kids at home, balancing the cost of rent and the cost of raising a family can be challenging. Our team at HotPads found that monthly child care costs are nearly as expensive as monthly rent in the U.S.

Using data from’s Care Index and the Census Bureau, we found that the average monthly cost of child care in the U.S. – including at-home and in-center care – is $1,385 a month. Nationally, the median rent payment is $1,500 a month – only $115 more than the monthly cost of child care.

The cost of living is rising across the nation, and the rising costs of rent and child care reflect that. Median rent across the U.S. rose 2.3 percent over the past year, while the average cost of child care rose 1.6 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

HotPads also looked at how monthly child care costs and monthly rent costs compare in 48 different metro areas. Renters in some less expensive markets, such as Pittsburgh, Memphis, T.N., and Louisville, K.Y., can expect to spend $180 or more on child care each month than they do on rent.

On the other hand, renters in some expensive rental markets like San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles can expect to spend less on child care each month than they do on rent. That said, renters in these markets face a combination of high rents and child care costs, spending more on rent and child care combined than in any other metro we analyzed.

How do rents and child care costs compare in your area? Take a look at the full data below: