Child care costs: Breaking down NYC's crisis as summer 2024 approaches

With summer 2024 on the horizon, child care is still unaffordable for 80% of NYC families, according to the Citizens Committee for Children of New York. 

Why is NYC in a "child care crisis"?

Did you know nearly four out of five families citywide cannot afford out-of-school care for children ages 6-12 and a family with one child between ages 6-12 might spend between 11% and 26% of their income on child care alone?

Courtesy of Office of Children and Family Services, New York State Child Care Market Rate Survey Report 2022

According to 5BoroNYC, there are currently 500,000 children under five living in New York City. They added that two thirds of children under five all have working parents. 

Courtesy: Office of Children and Family Services, New York State Child Care Market Rate Survey Report 2022

The 80th percentile of families pays between $14,000 and $20,000 a year for care for a child five or younger, Citizens Committee for Children of New York data shows.

RELATED: Here's how much it costs to raise a child in your state

Meanwhile, a report from 5Boro NYC indicates that approximately a quarter of child care workers live in poverty. Additionally, some neighborhoods have seen a reduction in child care options due to closures following the pandemic.

RELATED: Over 80% of NYC families cannot afford childcare amid soaring costs: Report 

Where in New York is child care the most expensive?

A woman plays with two children on a street, closed to vehicular traffic during a pilot program to provide more space for social distancing amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, on May 13, 2020 in Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by JOHANNES EI

The highest cost burden rates are found in the Bronx and Brooklyn communities, where child care and out-of-school care expenses can consume between 19% and 63% of the median income, depending on the child's age and care setting. 

In the Bronx and Brooklyn, the median household income for families with young or school-age children is below $50,000.

5BoroNYC says that many families have been leaving New York City, especially Black families who can't afford the care their children need.

How much does child care cost for New Yorkers?

According to the New York Times, for a New York City family to meet the federal affordability standard – which suggests that child care should not exceed 7% of total household income – they would need to earn over $300,000 annually to afford care for just one young child.

RELATED: Child care now costs more than a mortgage, study finds

The U.S. Department of Labor said a typical family spends over a quarter of their income on paying for child care.

Child care rates

See the charts below to get a general idea of how much child care costs in the city, according to Day Care Council of New York.

These market rates were made by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and represent the maximum amounts that New York State pays child care providers, as of June 3, 2022.

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Courtesy: Day Care Council of New York

For special needs children, the payment rate for child care services is based on the actual cost of care, up to the statewide limit of the highest market rate for weekly, daily, part-day, or hourly child care services. Weekly, the cost for care services for special-needs children, would be $406. Daily, the cost for care services for special-needs children, would be $80 and $53 for part-day, Day Care Council of New York said.

This applies regardless of the type of child care provider used or the child's age, and is determined by the amount of time the child care services are provided per week.

Types of childcare in NYC

Courtesy of Office of Children and Family Services, Child care facts and Figures 2022

  • Family child care: Provided in the caregiver's home for up to eight children (six if all are under five, with a maximum of two under two).
  • Group family child care: Provided in the caregiver's home with at least one assistant teacher, accommodating up to 16 children (12 if all are under five).
  • Center-based child care: Offered in a dedicated program or facility for children aged six weeks to five years.
  • School-based programs: Delivered in a program or facility for children aged six weeks to five years.

According to New York State, there were 887 family child care providers, 5,054 group family providers, and 2,179 center-based providers. 5Boro NYC said that most New York children get taken care of at home. 

Mayor Adams proposes budget cuts to the Department of Education

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2022/04/26: Mayor Eric Adams delivers State of the City address and reflection on the first 100 days of his administration at Kings Theatre. Mayor Adams also unveiled a balanced budget for the next fiscal year. Mayor reviewe

Adams previously announced that the city would slash $170 million from early childhood education programs as a part of budget cuts announced in November and January, Chalkbeat reported. NYC is also losing pandemic-era federal funding supporting its 3-K program and preschools.

The proposed cuts will reportedly reduce the DOE budget by $547 million dollars. Of that, at least $120 million would be stripped from Pre-K and 3-K programs, impacting at least 10,000 children.

RELATED: NYC Mayor Adams budget cuts: How NYPD, education, more will be affected

"Even in the midst of a budget crisis, the city is leaving hundreds of millions of dollars of state funding for child care on the table; the city is not maximizing the revenue it could draw down from the state to provide child care to eligible families because the dollars are not being maximized," 5BoroNYC said.

RELATED: Ms. Rachel, YouTube star known as 'Beyoncé for toddlers,' calls out NYC mayor for preschool cuts

Dozens of parents and would-be parents formed a new organization called New Yorkers United for Child Care to fight against these cuts. The launch party took place in November at the Bell House in Gowanus with face painting and games. Babies also sported onesies that read, "I want free child care."

Ms. Rachel, the YouTube star known as the "Beyoncé for toddlers," took a break from singing and rhyming to call out NYC Mayor Eric Adams for budget cuts to pre-K and 3-K programs.

"I want to be the best advocate I can be for families with young children," Ms. Rachel, whose real name is Rachel Accurso, said in a TikTok video. "Here in New York City, our mayor cut $400 million from early childhood education programs and is proposing more cuts." 

For more information on finding and paying for child care, click here.