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Childcare can cost more than a mortgage payment in 35 states—here are the 10 where it's most expensive

Some children try on Babiators

After paying the medical costs for the delivery and outfitting a nursery, new parents might think the hefty bills would end.

But depending on where you live, you could be spending almost 20 percent of your salary to cover childcare expenses.

And that's if you're entering parenthood with a partner. Single parents will spend even more to ensure their children are well-looked after while they're at work. The cost of center-based infant care exceeds 27 percent of the median household income for single parents in all states, according to data collected by Child Care Aware of America, a non-profit organization focused on improving the affordability of childcare in the U.S.

Childcare fees for families with two children cost more than the average mortgage payment in 35 states and the District of Columbia, while a year of infant care costs more in 28 states than the average tuition bill for a year at a public college, Child Care Aware found.

Below are the 10 places in the country where childcare bills for center-based infant and four-year-old care will cost you the most: 

1. Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, DC on January 22, 2018.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $23,666
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $18,657

While technically not a state, the nation's capital takes the top spot for most expensive child care. For married couples in the area, who earn a median household income of $162,164, according to the Census Bureau, the costs may be steep, but infant care eats up only 14.6 percent of their budget. For single moms or dads, typically earning $26,000 a year, the reality is far harsher, leaving next to nothing left over for other needs.

2. Massachusetts

A girl and boy walking down the steps at Aunt Lydia's Cove, Chatham Bars Inn, Cape Cod.
Jeff Greenberg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $20,415
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $14,736

The most populous state in New England is also home to the second steepest childcare costs in the nation. Couples should expect to fork over nearly 17 percent of their take home pay for infant care and 12 percent for a four-year-old's care. Single-parents will spend about 70 percent of their median $29,020 salary on infant care.

3. California

Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles.
PG/Bauer-Griffin | GC Images | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $16,542
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $11,202

Never synonymous with the words "cheap" or "affordable," California's appearance on the list is no surprise. Married couples here will spend more of their take-home pay on infant childcare than anywhere else in the country — almost 19 percent. Single parents fare worse, needing to devote about 60 percent of their income to cover infant care costs.

4. Minnesota

Three siblings skimming rocks into Lake Superior in Duluth, Minn.
Education Images | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $15,704
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $11,960

The most expensive spot in the Midwest, Minnesota couples, who earn a median income of $100,992, can expect to spend 15.5 percent of their income on infant childcare and nearly 12 percent on four-year-old care. Single parents, once again, must part with significantly more of their $29,022 median earnings, about 54 percent for infant and 41 percent for a preschooler's care.

5. Connecticut

MYSTIC, CONNECTICUT- NOVEMBER 28: A young girls reacts as she is greeted by a beluga whale at the viewing window at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn.
Tim Clayton - Corbis | Corbis News | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $15,132
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $12,428

Connecticut may be known for its high median household incomes, but the sticker shock extends both ways. Its childcare is the fifth most expensive in the nation. Married couples' high median income of $119,926 means childcare takes a smaller bite out of the budget than in many other states, about 12.6 percent for infant care and 10 percent for four-year-old care. And for the first time on the list, single parents won't need to give up more than half of their income to childcare. Infant care slides in at 48.7 percent of a single parent's median $31,070 paycheck, while four-year-old care will eat up 40 percent.

6. New York

A child stands next to the 'Fearless Girl' after a ceremony to unveil the statue's new location across from the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 10, 2018 in New York City.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $15,028
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $12,064

Home to the most expensive city in the nation, the Empire State's childcare costs are pricey too. Two-parent households here will shell out 15.5 percent of their median $98,408 income for infant childcare and 12.3 percent for four-year-old care. While single parents once again must spend more than half of their income on such care — about 56 percent for infants and 45 percent for preschoolers.

7. Colorado

Children in cowboy hats wait for the National Western Stockshow parade on Jan. 4, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.
Rick Wilking | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $14,960
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $12,095

The actual costs for childcare might be lower in Colorado than in other places on the list but in terms of affordability, it hits couples harder. The median income for a two-parent household here is $92,889 a year, but childcare for infants will take up 16 percent of that and care for a preschooler costs 12.3 percent of that sum. Single parents fare a bit better here than they do in other high-cost states. With a median income of $30,409, they will spend 49 percent and 40 percent on infant and four-year-old care, respectfully.

8. Washington

A pedestrian crosses Pine St. a block from Seattle's landmark neon sign at the Pike Place Market.
Don Bartletti | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $14,208
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $10,788

Single parents here face an uphill battle affording care. Once again, infant care eats up more than half of the median income of $27,523. As kids age, the burden drops to 40 percent of a single parent's income. Couples, by contrast, will only devote 15 percent and 11.7 percent of their paychecks to paying for infant and preschooler care.

9. Maryland

Children frolic in a splash pool in Silver Spring, Md., on July 5, 2018.
The Washington Post | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $14,970
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $10,010

High salaries help offset some of the pain for Marylanders footing the bill for childcare. Couples here earn a median income of $117,789 and spend about 12.7 percent of that on infant care and only 8.5 percent on a preschooler's care. Single parents, meanwhile, lose about 40 percent of their median salary of $37,748 to infant care. Four-year-old care eats up less — 26.5 percent.

10. Virginia

Two girls reading books in the gift shop at Virginia Living Museum.
Jeff Greenberg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Annual cost of infant care in a center: $13,728
Annual cost of four-year-old care in a center: $10,608

If Virginia really is for lovers, then they probably need a lot of childcare. Too bad care here costs more than it does in four-fifths of the country. Two-parent households will pay about 13.4 percent a year of their median wage of $102,697 for infant care, while single parents need to spend about 48 percent of their typical salary of about $28,900 to cover infant care.

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