The cost of daycare is almost as much as rent in some cities

You can only stretch a dollar so far before something breaks.

The cost of daycare is almost as much as rent in some cities

For many young families, the rent or mortgage payment is the biggest expense each month, but as childcare costs have climbed in recent years, many parents are finding daycare can cost almost as much the roof over their heads.

That's right. In some cities, daycare costs as much a rent, and may even outrun a mortgage payment for the number one spot in a family's expenses.

It's happening in so many cities, impacting so many families, and while this generation of parents is pretty great at balancing a checkbook (or rather, balancing via a budgeting app), there is no denying that this is a burden and a barrier for working parents.

A look at the numbers

In Detroit, for example, daycare will cost you $9,759 a year according to The median rent for a two bedroom apartment in that city? About $890, according to the September 2018 rent report from Apartment List.

So, a year of rent in Detroit will cost you just $921 more than a year of daycare.


And Detroit is significantly less expensive than other cities when it comes to both housing and childcare. In Toronto, you can get a small apartment for $1,851 a month while parents pay around $1,758 a month for childcare. As CTV reports, "a year of childcare can end up costing Toronto families almost as much as four years of university tuition."

Again, ouch.

Even in notoriously expensive housing markets like New York City, childcare prices aren't too far behind rent prices. In NYC daycare costs $10,519 according to That's $549 more than the average cost of tuition and in-state fees at a public four-year college, and a significant burden in a city where the average monthly rent on a two bedroom apartment is $2,509.

Daycare in Boston will set you back $14,960 a year. In San Jose it's $15,177. In Denver you're looking at $11,578. And this is not just a problem in North America. In the UK, Londoners are forking over the equivalent of $9,902 USD for daycare while simultaneously being squeezed by rising rents that see middle-income earners spending "every penny earned...until the first week of May" on their yearly rent, according to the BBC.

What's the solution?

For so many young families, the double whammy of a daycare bill that's nearly as much as rent means one parent will opt to stay home. But it is incredibly difficult to survive on one income in 2018, and in some cases, millennial parents are choosing to leave major cities for smaller, often more rural ones with lower housing and childcare costs.

When you crunch the numbers, it can seem like parents are being pushed out of major cities, but one major North American city seems to have figured out a solution.

In Montreal, where two-thirds of the city's dwellers rent, and where rental prices are up 14.8% year-over year, where a two bedroom's gonna cost you $1,700 a month, daycare costs just $25 a day.

The low-cost daycare solution is a province-wide program in Quebec, and while critics argue the $2.5 billion dollar annual government investment is just too much, paying just $500 a month for daycare does help parents get back into the workforce and relieves some of the financial burden families face.

What we can do now

Short of moving to Montreal or Jonesboro, Arkansas (where daycare will set you back just $5,700), what can parents do when childcare and housing eat up most of your paycheck?

Here are some tips:

  • Ask if there are subsidies available: Depending on where you live and how much you make, your daycare may be able to connect you with subsidies or programs that can offset the cost. It never hurts to ask.
  • Make the most of any tax credits available to you: Again, this depends of location and income but it's worth investigating. Check if colleges near you offer free tax clinics.
  • Unconventional care: Sometimes, sharing a nanny with a friend who works opposite hours or watching a neighbor's children in return for them watching yours may work out to be cheaper than in-center care, especially if you don't work typical hours or only need care for a couple hours a day.
  • Flexible work: Investigating flexible work options may be worth it, even if you have to take a pay cut. With the right schedule or an option to work from home, daycare fees may become a non-issue for your family and you'll have more in the bank.
  • Write to your representatives: Let lawmakers in your area know that families need affordable daycare.

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After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.


Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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