During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents with children under the age of 18 left the workforce. With schools across the country shifting to remote learning, it made more financial sense for many parents to give up their job and stay home with their children rather than pay for child care – especially as child care costs skyrocketed during the pandemic.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, a family with two children, age four and eight, is projected to pay an average of $16,659 on child care in 2022. This amount varies across the country, however, and in many major metropolitan areas, child care costs are thousands of dollars less than average.
In the Houma-Thibodaux metro area, located in Louisiana, child care costs are considerably lower than the national average. According to the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, child care in the metro area for one 4-year-old child and one school-age child will cost an average of $9,958 in 2022.
As is often the case with factors that affect the cost of living, child care costs appear to be driven in part by what parents can afford. Just as child care costs are lower than average in Houma-Thibodaux, so too are incomes. Based on five-year estimates from U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey, the typical area family earns $65,137 per year, well below the national median family income of $80,069.