Baton Rouge Has Some of the Lowest Child Care Costs in the Nation

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BATON ROUGE (The Center Square) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents with children under the age of 18 left the workforce. With schools across the country shifting to remote learning, it made more financial sense for many parents to give up their job and stay home with their children rather than pay for child care – especially as child care costs skyrocketed during the pandemic.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, a family with two children, age four and eight, is projected to pay an average of $16,659 on child care in 2022. This amount varies across the country, however, and in many major metropolitan areas, child care costs are thousands of dollars less than average.

In the Baton Rouge metro area, located in Louisiana, child care costs are considerably lower than the national average. According to the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, child care in the metro area for one 4-year-old child and one school-age child will cost an average of $10,490 in 2022.

As is often the case with factors that affect the cost of living, child care costs appear to be driven in part by what parents can afford. Just as child care costs are lower than average in Baton Rouge, so too are incomes. Based on five-year estimates from U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey, the typical area family earns $77,948 per year, below the national median family income of $80,069.

Rank Metro area Avg. child care costs, 4-yr. old & 8-yr. old, 2022 ($) Median family income ($)
1 Hattiesburg, MS 8,321 58,430
2 Gulfport-Biloxi, MS 8,324 62,967
3 Jackson, MS 8,704 67,202
4 Monroe, LA 9,106 56,295
5 Florence, SC 9,232 58,215
6 Sumter, SC 9,350 57,134
7 Alexandria, LA 9,386 59,394
8 Spartanburg, SC 9,390 65,214
9 Shreveport-Bossier City, LA 9,424 59,467
10 Hammond, LA 9,583 62,373
11 Lake Charles, LA 9,590 65,881
12 Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC 9,723 65,152
13 Lafayette, LA 9,831 66,741
14 Houma-Thibodaux, LA 9,958 65,137
15 Dalton, GA 10,094 58,145
16 Columbia, SC 10,141 71,993
17 Macon-Bibb County, GA 10,144 62,540
18 Greenville-Anderson, SC 10,161 71,958
19 Albany, GA 10,217 56,166
20 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 10,320 46,609
21 Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 10,476 47,332
22 Rome, GA 10,482 61,841
23 Baton Rouge, LA 10,490 77,948
24 Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 10,508 67,596
25 Valdosta, GA 10,537 59,281
26 Brunswick, GA 10,605 68,432
27 Sebring-Avon Park, FL 10,626 52,793
28 Athens-Clarke County, GA 10,647 71,301
29 New Orleans-Metairie, LA 10,750 72,053
30 Johnson City, TN 10,761 60,890
31 Morristown, TN 10,767 58,448
32 Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX 10,985 68,971
33 Wichita Falls, TX 11,038 66,634
34 Ocala, FL 11,086 56,181
35 The Villages, FL 11,087 72,792
36 Longview, TX 11,127 64,818
37 Warner Robins, GA 11,140 77,307
38 Killeen-Temple, TX 11,158 66,430
39 El Paso, TX 11,206 53,920
40 Cleveland, TN 11,213 63,243
41 Chattanooga, TN-GA 11,225 70,533
42 Gainesville, GA 11,258 74,139
43 Jackson, TN 11,268 58,697
44 Homosassa Springs, FL 11,285 57,253
45 Laredo, TX 11,327 54,078
46 Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA 11,329 60,792
47 Tallahassee, FL 11,420 72,943
48 Columbus, GA-AL 11,449 62,459
49 Amarillo, TX 11,487 69,716
50 Waco, TX 11,493 66,852

By Samuel Stebbins of 24/7 Wall Street for the Center Square

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