Every parent needs a night out once in awhile. How much that babysitter will cost depends largely on what part of the country your family calls home, but new stats show that today’s babysitters are making bank compared to the rates my teenage self charged (not that they don’t deserve it).
According to UrbanSitter 2017 National Childcare Rate Survey, 48% of parents spend over $1,000 a year on babysitters. The average cost of an hourly babysitter is $15.20 for one kid and nearly $19.57 for three.
San Francisco is the most expensive major American city to hire a sitter in (at $17.34 per hour for one child) and Denver is the cheapest (at just $12.22 for a single kid). Nannies are doing well, too. Their rates have gone up 10% over last year and start at $16.45 an hour for one child.
The high cost of an evening away from home is likely why so many parents (63.9%) consider hiring a babysitter to be a luxury, not a necessity. When you consider that the average U.S. family spends more than 30% of its income on center-based child care, there’s not a lot of cash left over for occasional “night out” babysitters after you pay the daycare bill.
Say you’ve got two kids and want to go to dinner and a movie. The average adult movie ticket costs $8.73 and an entree is like, what, $15? Double those numbers and then give yourself four hours between the restaurant and the cinema and date night just cost you $116.82.
Still, some parents do prioritize date nights. According to UrbanSitter, one-third of parents hire sitters at least once a week, and date nights are the top reason for hiring one (followed by running errands and using a babysitter as back-up child care). The numbers show what we already know: Sometimes babysitters are necessary so parents can have a life, and sometimes they're necessary so that we can earn a livelihood.
According to the 20,000 parents surveyed, babysitters are most valuable when kids are toddlers and 64% figure the stay-at-home parent needs the date night even more than the working parent does.
These days, most babysitters in big cities aren’t just 15-year-olds who’ve taken a CPR course. As the cost of living in a major center goes up, college-educated babysitters who can provide background checks and references are becoming the norm (although less than half of parents actually check those references).
Yes, these babysitters are expensive, but according to Urbansitter, they also drive themselves home at the end of the night. For exhausted parents, that alone might be worth paying a little more for.