(WXMI) — The cost of childcare in Michigan is creeping up on the cost of a full-time college tuition, new data shows.
A recent study published by the Economic Policy Institute shows the cost of childcare for an infant is only 12.7% less than the cost of in-state tuition at a four-year public college.
The average annual cost for infant care in Michigan is $10,861, or about $905 per month.
For toddlers, the average annual cost is only slightly cheaper: $8,890 or about $741 per month.
For parents, it’s a problem with no good solution.
“How am I going to find a job that’s going to be able to pay that, and still pay my bills?” asked Natasha Wilson, a Newaygo County mother of three. “Where’s the money from your paycheck that’s going to go into the gas that’s going to get you to and from work and to and from the daycare? Where’s the money that’s going to help you pay your bills? Where’s the money that’s going to help put food on the table? All of it’s going to childcare. We might as well live at the daycare.”
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Natasha used to work third shift, but has now started babysitting for other moms who can’t afford childcare either.
“That’s how I make my ends meet is by helping out other moms who are able to get these jobs and just can’t afford those daycare prices,” she said. “How are you supposed to spend time with your kid if you’re a full-time working mom, but how are you also supposed to pay your bills if you sit home with your kids? It’s always a battle.”
On average, families like Natasha’s are forced to spend 6.7% more than the state’s average rent on average daycare costs. It’s far, far worse for families with two children. According to the EPI study, childcare for a family with an infant and a 4-year-old costs $19,751 annually, about 48.7% more than the average cost of rent in Michigan.
For rural families like Natasha’s, the options are often slim in the first place.
And childcare workers aren’t benefiting at all from the high prices. The same study shows nationally, childcare workers’ families are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as other workers’ families (11.8% are in poverty compared with 5.8%).
A median childcare worker in Michigan would have to spend 49% of their earnings to put her own child in infant care.
To view the study yourself, click here.
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