The Cost of Child Care in Georgia

By: Economic Policy Institute

Child care in Georgia is expensive.

  • The average annual cost of infant care in Georgia is $7,644—that’s $637 per month.
  • Child care for a 4-year-old costs $6,500, or $542 each month.

Child care is one of the biggest expenses families face.

  • Infant care in Georgia costs $1,030 (15.6%) more per year than in-state tuition for 4-year public college.
  • That makes Georgia one of 33 states and DC where infant care is more expensive than college.
  • In Georgia, infant care costs just 21.3% less than average rent.

Annual cost in Georgia

College: $6,614

Housing: $9,707

4-year-old care: $6,500

Infant care: $7,644

Child care is unaffordable for typical families in Georgia.

  • Infant care for one child would take up 13.8% of a typical family’s income in Georgia.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), child care is affordable if it costs no more than 10% of a family’s income. By this standard, only 37.7% of Georgia families can afford infant care.
Families with two children face an even larger burden.
  • Child care for two children—an infant and a 4-year-old—costs $14,144. That’s 45.7% more than average rent in Georgia.
  • Child care for an infant and a 4-year-old costs more than rent in 20 out of 23 metropolitan and rural areas in Georgia.
  • A typical family in Georgia would have to spend 25.5% of their income on child care for an infant and a 4-year-old.

Child care is out of reach for low-wage workers.

  • A minimum-wage worker in Georgia would need to work full time for 26 weeks, or from January to June, just to pay for child care for one infant.
Yet, child care workers still struggle to get by.
  • Nationally, child care workers’ families are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as other workers’ families (14.7% compared with 6.7%).
  • In 17 out of 22 metropolitan areas in Georgia, more than 90% of child care workers don’t make enough to afford the basic cost of living in their area.
  • A typical child care worker in Georgia would have to spend 40.4%of her earnings to put her own child in infant care.

How big a bite does child care take?
Infant care costs as a share of income in Georgia

Current HHS affordability standard
(new proposed standard: 7%)

For a median family with children

  Infant Care
Share of income to afford infant care 13.8%
Remaining income 86.2%

13.8%$7,644 of $55,411

For a minimum-wage worker

  Infant Care
Share of income to afford infant care 50.7%
Remaining income 49.3%

50.7%$7,644 of $15,080

For a typical child care worker

  Infant Care
Share of income to afford infant care 40.4%
Remaining income 59.6%

40.4%$7,644 of $18,910

Quick Stats
  • Annual infant care costs:$7,644
  • Median family income:$55,411
  • Infant care costs as a share of median family income:13.8%
  • Savings to typical families with an infant from capping child care expenditures at 10% of income:$2,103
  • Share of (post–child care) median income freed up by capping infant care expenditures at 10% of income:4.4%
  • Share of families able to afford infant care (i.e., costs are 10% or less of income):37.7%
  • Full-time minimum wage salary:$15,080
  • Infant care costs as a share of minimum-wage earnings:50.7%
  • Median child care worker salary:$18,910
  • Infant care costs as a share of child care worker earnings:40.4%
  • In-state tuition for 4-year public college:$6,614
  • Infant care costs as a share of public college tuition:115.6%
  • Annual rent:$9,707
  • Infant care as a share of rent:78.7%
  • Increase in state’s economy from capping families’ child care expenditures at 10% of income:1.0% ($4.59 billion)

Everyone will benefit if we solve this problem.

  • Meaningful child care reform that capped families’ child care expenses at 10% of their income would expand Georgia’s economy by 1.0%. That’s $4.59 billion of new economic activity.
  • A typical Georgia family with an infant could save $2,103 on child care costs if we implemented this reform. This would free up 4.4% of their (post–child care) annual income to spend on other necessities.