How Much Parents Pay For Childcare & Babysitters In 2019 Will Shock You

For many parents, hiring a babysitter can be a catch-22 of sorts. On one hand, they desperately need a date night — or maybe even just an opportunity get things done around the house without having to constantly break up arguments. Except, the going rate for babysitters in some regions can be a deal breaker. Because on top of the cost of date night, parents would be shelling out more than they can afford for someone to watch their kids. In fact, how much parents pay for childcare and babysitters in 2019 will shock you.

Each year, UrbanSitter carries out a national childcare rate survey — and it recently released the data for 2019. A total of 28,000 families from across the nation participated this time around, according to a news release. So what is the going rate for childcare these days, anyway? Drum roll please... The national average is $16.75 per hour for one child, $19.26 per hour for two kids, and $20.76 per hour for three kids.

If you're anything like me, you're probably sitting there going, "What?! Is dinner and a movie away from the kids really worth it?" The cost of hiring a babysitter for date night — on top of the cost of the food, movie tickets, and overpriced theater snacks — could easily set you back hundreds of dollars. (In my case, even more, because I have four kids.)

UrbanSitter also looked into the most expensive and least expensive cities, as far as childcare is concerned. San Francisco had the highest rates at $18.75 per hour for one child and $21.30 per hour for two kids. On the other end of the spectrum, Las Vegas came in as having the lowest childcare rates at $11.63 per hour for one child and $14.71 per hours for two kids.

It's worth pointing out the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, according to the Department of Labor. Which means the average hourly cost of hiring a babysitter is a whopping 231 percent higher than minimum wage, according to an UrbanSitter news release. (Side note: A federal minimum wage of $15 doesn't sound so ridiculous now, does it?)

UrbanSitter also surveyed 1,000 parents to learn more about what's important when it comes to hiring a babysitter — as well as how much they spent each year on sitters, according to Red Tricycle. Here are a few highlights for your amusement, according to a news release from UrbanSitter:

  • Fifty percent of parents said the most important date night of the year is their anniversary, followed by birthdays (23 percent), other (17 percent), New Year’s Eve (6 percent), and Valentine’s Day (4 percent.)
  • When asked what they look forward to the most about date night, 40 percent said “reconnecting with my partner” and 40 percent said “adult time away from the kids.”
  • Most parents hire a sitter once (21 percent) or twice (19 percent) a month.
  • Annually, 24 percent spend $10,000 to $19,999 on childcare; 18 percent spend $20,000 to $29,999; and 15 percent spend $5,000 to $9,999.

This, my friends, is exactly why my husband and I went on one measly "date night" during our oldest child's first year of life. It's also why we decided to move closer to family; we simply couldn't afford it. These days, we're incredibly lucky to live only a few blocks from my in-laws — who gladly take three of our four kiddos for a few hours at a time. (The baby is breastfeeding and still tethered to me for the time-being.)

My family is also lucky in the sense that my husband and I are able to have work schedules so that one of us is always with the kids — meaning no regular childcare costs. Considering 42 percent of families in UrbanSitter's survey spend between $10,000 and $30,000 per child per year on childcare, I know we're saving a ton in that area, too.

I realize most people aren't as fortunate as I am in the childcare department. But seeing the rates laid out there so nicely is truly shocking. Can we seriously bump up the minimum wage already? And maybe make it so quality childcare doesn't eat up such a large percentage of parents' income? Thanks.