BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Many parents are constantly thinking how we are going to pay for our kids' education with college prices and loans building up. Here in Maine, it seems the worry and saving might need to start a bit earlier. A recent study by Child Care Aware, based in Arlington Virginia, shows in 2012 Maine was one of the least affordable states for full-time center-based care for a four year old child.
The study looked at the average cost for a full-time child care center compared to the median income of households across the state.
The average annual cost for a 4 year old in a child care center was $8,320. For a single parent family in Maine the median income is $22,752 causing child care to take up 36.6% of the salary. A married couple's median income was 74,554 having child care take up 11.2%.
The study only looked at child care for one child.
The child care resource organization also found having two children in center-based care exceeded the annual median rent in every state. The centers we contacted in the area all told us they provide a discount for families with more than one child enrolled. The discount averaged from 5 to 10 percent depending on the age of the children.
Another surprising find, in every region of the U.S. the average child care fees in a center were higher than the average amount that families spent on food.