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More expensive, child care or college? Depends on where you live

By Ryan, Blogger

By Ryan, Blogger

The cost of college is something just about every parent has considered. Our daughter is six-weeks old, but as soon as we found out about her when she was six weeks in the womb, we started thinking about college. Not long after that, we started looking for daycare options, and we knew that any good care center was going to cost us. The surprising thing is when you compare the costs of the two.

That’s where this chart, (compiled by the Washington Post and featured on, presents some interesting data for each state.


In Virginia the cost of childcare for an infant, measured annually, is less than $1000 higher than in-state college tuition. To me that seems reasonable enough, I guess. The safety of my child now is equally important to me as their future success. In our neighboring states of North Carolina and West Virginia, the gap increases as child care proves to be more expensive than tuition. But in nearby states of Maryland, New York and Massachusetts, child care costs more than $5000 annually than college tuition.

Given that parents have much less time to prepare for daycare costs vs. college tuition, the study also raised the question of how parents afford this additional expense. Not surprisingly, it found that more moms are dropping out of the workforce — nearly 30% of moms drop out or never enter it, compared to 23% in 1999.

We want to hear from you, how does your family cope with the costs of child care? Leave your comment on our Facebook page.

About Tidewater Parent Staff

One of our staff who provides news and information for families in Hampton Roads.

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