Child care costs more than college, rivals rent in Nevada, says data

two kids at child care

two kids at child careIn order to pay for one infant in daycare, a minimum wage worker in Nevada would need to work full time for 35 weeks — and not spend a dime of their paycheck on anything else.

And while the financial burden lessens the more a worker makes, child care is still considered unaffordable for the vast majority of Nevadans, according to updated data from the Economic Policy Institute.

The average cost of infant care in Nevada is $11,408 annually, or $951 monthly.

Compared to in-state tuition for four-year public college — $6,557 annually — infant care is 92.7 percent more expensive. Compared to average rent — $12,501 annually or $1,042 monthly — infant care is just 8.7 percent less.

Put another way: A family making the state’s median income — $57,057 annually — would spend a fifth of their income on childcare.

“Child care affordability” is defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as costing no more than 7 percent of a family’s income. (For the family making median state income, that would be roughly $4,000 annually.)

Based off the current cost of infant care, only 6.8 percent of Nevada families meet that threshold for affordability, reports the EPI.

Compared to infant care, the cost for child care for a 4-year-old is lower — but still substantial and not considered affordable. EPI reports the cost of child care for a 4-year-old is $9,050 annually, or $754 monthly.

And if you have more than one child?

Forget about it.

According to the EPI, the annual cost of child care for an infant and 4-year-old is $20,459. That means the hypothetical family making the median annual income in Nevada would spend 35.9 percent of their income on child care.

These updated numbers aren’t dramatically higher than previous datasets, and they mirror previous reports at the state and national level regarding child care affordability. Advocates in Nevada have pointed out the financial and emotional stress burden falling on families in need of child care, but thus far the Legislature has failed to take any major steps.

April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. April currently serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas pro chapter. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and three mutts.


  1. I am a single mom, with one toddler. I am also a government employee, a teacher and make roughly 52,000 (with 15 yrs experience and a Master’s degree). I calculate my childcare costs to be almost 24 percent of my income. Single moms are at such a disadvantage…

    My sister-in-law and brother pay 6 dollars a day, a tiny fraction of their gross income…around a 100,000, in Canada. The difference my brother and sister in law pay in taxes each year from what he pays in US taxes (lives in Canada, works for U.S, so pays both) is far less than the price of average childcare for one kid in Nevada. And of course, free healthcare.


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