New study shows child care costs are more than in-state college tuition in Florida

New numbers from show most parents spend 24% of their household income on child care. Half of parents surveyed spent more than $18,000 in 2023.

Mom of three, Brittney McDaniel, works full-time. She says paying for child care takes up most of her teacher salary.

“It’s more than 20% of what I make monthly, so it’s quite a bit. It’s like paying a care note every month just to pay for after school alone, and prior to them being older, for before and after school, I was paying about $800 a month,” she said.

A new report from says the average parent is paying $321 weekly for childcare. McDaniel said she wouldn’t be able to afford full-time daycare, even with her husband having a full time job.

TELL US: Do you think you pay too much for child care? Why or why not?

If child care is costing parents about $300 a week, that’s an average of about $17,000 a year. That costs more than double the $6,590 in-state tuition a student pays for a year at UNF — or the $6,380 an in-state student pays for a year at UF.

Inflation is the leading reason for why childcare has gotten so expensive. Cynthia Smith runs a daycare and private school on Jacksonville’s Northside – she says she’s competing with the likes of Walmart and Amazon to give her employees a livable wage.

“Workers, employees, we have to pay them a certain amount of money to come in here and work. We have to be able to compete with the price of everything that’s been inflated. Groceries, rent, and things of that nature. With that being the case, this is also a business, so the price of child care has to increase,” Smith said.

Families are also making major sacrifices to afford quality childcare right now:

Working multiple jobs (28%)Reducing hours at work (27%)Moving closer to family (25%)Going into debt (19%)Leaving the workforce (17%)

“Something needs to change because there needs to be more affordable options for the middle class,” McDaniel said. “We have to either pay for daycare or choose not to work.”

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