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Cost of Child Care Higher Than College Tuition in California

Photograph by Twenty20

We all know the working parents' dilemma by now—you've got to work to support your family, but the cost of child care is so high that for many people, depending on their salary, going back to work doesn't even make financial sense. For others, they go back only to give the majority of their paycheck to a child care provider while losing out on precious time with their children. Basically, you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

And according to a new report, the situation is even more dire in certain states, like California. An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute finally confirms what many parents have already suspected—the cost of child care in the state of California is even more expensive than actually sending your kids to college.

The average cost of infant care in the Golden State is $11,817, while the average cost of preschool is $8,230 annually. The average annual cost of in-state public college tuition in California is $8,903, which makes the cost of infant care almost $3,000 more per year.

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The report goes on to state that a "typical family in California would have to spend 31.5 percent of their income on child care for an infant and a 4-year-old. A minimum-wage worker in California would need to work full time for 30 weeks, or from January to July, just to pay for child care for one infant."

Josh Bivens, the Policy Director at the Economic Policy Institute shares that even "very solidly upper middle class families are feeling a pinch from the cost of child care." And the segment of the population that feels the greatest pinch are the low-income earners to the point that it has become "an economic crisis for low- and moderate-income families."

The report authors hope that the findings will lead to improved policies in early childhood programs, greater postpartum care services, child care subsidies for low to moderate-income families and access to more training for early child care workers.

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