Stock art of baby

Virginia’s infant care costs families $1,426 more annually than the average in-state tuition for a four-year college in the commonwealth, according to a study released by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. The cost is also only 1.9 percent lower than the average cost of rent.

For all child care, Virginia ranks as having the 10th most expensive care when taking into account all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The average cost of infant care is $14,063 every year, which is $1,172 every month. For perspective, the cost of infant care for only one child is about 18 percent of the income for a family making the median level of income. The cost would take up more than half of the income of a person at or below the state’s poverty level, which is 15 percent of the total population.

According to Health and Human Services, childcare is affordable for a family if it takes up about 7 percent or less of its total income, which means that the average Virginian cannot afford infant care.

The average cost of four-year-old care $10,867 annually, which is $906 every month. The state’s annual housing costs are $14,333 every year and the cost of college is $12,637 for one student.

The organization encouraged childcare reform to bring down costs.

“Meaningful child care reform that capped families’ child care expenses at 7 [percent] of their income would save a typical Virginia family with an infant $8,315 on child care costs,” the institute’s study suggested. “This would free up 13.1 [percent] of their (post–child care) annual income to spend on other necessities. Parents would have more opportunities to enter the labor force. If child care were capped at 7 [percent] of income, 38,959 more parents would have the option to work.”

Staff Writer

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.