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U.S. Renters Spend Almost as Much on Child Care as they Spend on Rent, HotPads Finds

More than a third of renters have kids at home, and may find themselves balancing…

  • September 25, 2018

More than a third of renters have kids at home, and may find themselves balancing the rising costs of raising a family with the rising costs of renting a home or apartment.

According to a new analysis from rental search platform HotPads, U.S. renters with children spend almost as much on child care as they spend on rent.

The average cost of child care in the U.S. is $1,385 a month, according to a HotPads analysis of Care.com’s Care Index. Nationally, the median rent payment is $1,500 per month — $115 more than the monthly average cost of child care.

However, monthly child care costs exceed monthly rent costs in more than a quarter of the 48 metros analyzed. Renters in Pittsburgh can expect to spend $255 more each month on child care than they do on rent, more than any other metro analyzed.

In other less expensive rental markets, including Memphis, Tenn.; Louisville, Ky.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Buffalo, N.Y.; renters with children can expect to spend $155 or more on child care each month than they do on rent.

The cost of living is on the rise across the country, and that is reflected in both rental prices and child care costs. Over the past year, median rent across the U.S. rose 2.3 percent, while the average cost of child care rose 1.3 percent.

In expensive rental markets like San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles, rent prices are higher than child care costs.

However, even in these hot markets, the average cost of child care is half the median monthly rent payment.

The combination of high rents and high child care costs can put additional financial strain on families with young children – renters in these markets can expect to spend more on rent and child care combined than in any other metros analyzed.

Rising rents have more of an impact on renters with children who want more space, as monthly rent for two and three-bedroom rentals are rising faster than one-bedroom rentals nationwide –median rent for two and three-bedroom rentals rose almost 3 percent over the past year, while median rent for one-bedroom rentals rose about 2 percent.

According to the 2017 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, renters with kids are more likely to prioritize the number of bedrooms and square footage in a rental when looking for a place to live.

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