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Study Finds MN Child Care Costs Jumped 60% During Pandemic

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Pandemic prices have affected everything from groceries to cars, and now - childcare.

A recent study from LendingTree found that the average cost per child for center-based childcare has risen 41%. Minnesota is already one of the most expensive states for childcare.

Taylor Loeber pays close to $33,000 a year for her two kids at a child care center.

"We have to make a lot of sacrifices, taking that into consideration, we pay more for child care than we do for a mortgage," Loeber said.

The cost could get worse according to a recent report.

In Minnesota, the study found the average annual cost of a child care center pre-pandemic for one child was around $11,000. During COVID-19, that number is around $18,000 - a 60% increase.

"I think we saw a large group of early educators leave the workforce, and now that families are coming back, there's a lot of pressure on providers to hire enough teachers," said Chad Dunkley, CEO of New Horizon Academy.

Dunkley said center costs are going up as they pay teachers more to retain staff and hire. He said costs are also going up, as the number of options have gone down with in-home daycare closures. But he thinks the numbers could be partly skewed.

"Families had access to public school services, maybe part-time preschool, but many of those were not available during the pandemic," he said.

Gov. Tim Walz is pushing for the legislature to make child care more affordable by boosting investments in childcare assistance programs.

The study found Minnesota families pay around 18% of their income towards childcare, which is the sixth most expensive in the country.


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