Child care costs more than a mortgage payment or rent almost everywhere in the U.S.: ‘There is no escaping it’

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Housing costs may have gotten out of control, but there’s another expense that now poses an even greater burden to many American families: child care.

Jessica Norwood, a working mother of two in North Carolina and host of the financial-literacy show “The Sugar Daddy Podcast,” said daycare costs when her two children were ages 3 and 4 added up to nearly $3,000 per month — almost twice her monthly mortgage payment of $1,580.

“We were spending easily 55% of our pretax household income on our mortgage and child care,” said Norwood, who grew up in Germany. Her family looked into getting a nanny or an au pair, but found disadvantages to both.

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“It’s no wonder so many people (i.e. women) leave work to stay home with their children,” Norwood told MarketWatch in an email. “It’s all excruciatingly expensive.”

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Norwood said her friends who work outside of the home and have young children all face this dilemma. “It’s a frequent topic of conversation in our group because there is no escaping it and, in most cases, there are no other viable options.”

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The average cost of child care for two children is now greater than the average rent in all 50 states, and greater than the average mortgage payment in 45 states, according to a new report by the nonprofit Child Care Aware of America.

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