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Why Is MN Child Care The 2nd Most Expensive In The US?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- If you have kids in child care, you know firsthand the cost can exceed that of most college tuitions.

A report released earlier this week shows Minnesota is second only to New York when it comes to the cost of raising a child. Minnesota parents pay almost $14,000 on average each year for infant care.

It's a fact that even startles the parents who pay child care costs. An online report released this week by the Fiscal Times shows Minnesota is the nation's second most expensive state for center-based child care.

Edina mother Morgan Holcomb and her husband both work full time. One of her kids is in after school care, and the other is in full-time day care.

"Our child care bill at the moment is about $400 a month," Holcomb said. "When my oldest daughter was still in care we were paying around $1,000 a month, so about the same as our mortgage."

Is child care in Minnesota so expensive because it's so good?

"That might be what drives the wages up a little bit," Holcomb said.

Ann McCully, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Childcare Resource and Referral Network, says the state has strict requirements when it comes to teacher ratios – and that drives up the cost.

"We don't want more than four infants with one adult," McCully said. "We don't want more than ten 4-year olds with one adult. There are states that will let that number be as high as 20 to one."

Secondly, McCully says Twin Cities parents demand centers with an educational emphasis.

"We have certainly heard more and more parents asking about the questions of quality," McCully said. "Who are the teachers? What kind of training have they had?"

Lastly, McCully says two-thirds of Minnesota's centers are clustered in the urban parts of town where both overhead and labor costs are higher.

"The Twin Cities Metro area tends to be about 60 percent higher in cost than our rural areas," McCully said.

The study also shows that more American parents are choosing not to have kids all together.

In 2011, the U.S. fertility rate fell to the lowest rate ever reported. The rate has dropped for five straight years.

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