How San Diego Child Care Costs Compare to Other Cities

How San Diego Child Care Costs Compare to Other Cities

Childcare is one of those things we cannot do without. Strange then that it is often ignored when it comes to looking at the cost of living for a given area. When moving with your children to a new area, or figuring out the most cost-effective place to live, the childcare costs are a significant expense that must be considered.

For those looking to move to San Diego, or who are trying to compare cost of living in different areas of the country, cost varies a little depending on the San Diego area you live in. However, for family childcare homes, it averages at around $250 a week for infants and $200 for preschool children. This can be significantly more at childcare centers for younger children, with infant care being around $350 on average. For school age children, the cost is roughly equivalent to the family childcare provision. But how does that compare with major U.S. cities?

If we look at Washington D.C., the most expensive city in the country for childcare, the cost for infant care averages out at $2,000 a month, or $500 a week. That is double the San Diego rate, and the story is the same for preschool ages too, hitting $1,600 a month or $400 a week. Of course, there are reasons why Washington D.C. is itself so expensive, and for Californians, a more interesting comparison is perhaps with Los Angeles, the second most populous city in the country.

It may come as no shock that childcare in LA is more expensive than in San Diego, most things are, but it is surprising how small the difference is. For instance, in Sherman Oaks, infant daycare averages around $270 a week, with preschoolers slightly less at around $250. It is slightly more expensive the nearer you get to downtown, but the overall cost remains higher than San Diego itself.

When looking at childcare costs, comparing the biggest city in the country is also important, and for New York, the results are surprising. Weekly rates for infants are around $370 at daycare centers, and $200 a week with family childcare. These rates fall to $240 and $175 respectively for preschool age children. Family childcare homes then represent a saving over San Diego, however childcare centers are a little more expensive. How you view New York depends on the type of care you are looking for.

Having looked at the nation’s capital, along with the two largest cities in the country, we turn to the third largest, Chicago. Here, infant childcare averages $220 a week, with preschool around the $200 a week mark. Very comparable to San Diego, and yet here, as with other examples, there is something we have not taken into account.

Incomes. In Washington D.C. incomes are statistically higher, and that evens out the extra costs. However, Chicago does the same, and lower average income brings those lower costs more in line, or even makes them more expensive than San Diego as a proportion of income.

Childcare costs are continuing to rise, and affordability is becoming an issue for more and more parents. However, it is important to look at the broader picture when looking at costs, housing, incomes and other expenses all affect the affordability, and some cheaper costs may in fact be a more expensive solution relative to the cost of living in each city.


This is a test for a online calculator.