Daycare for an infant is now more expensive than the average cost of in-state tuition and fees at public colleges in 31 states. Childcare in the U.S. sets a family back $15,000 a year per infant on average. It is more expensive than rent in 22 states. But while many poor women are dropping out of the workforce in part due to these costs, well-to-do families skirt the problem by exploiting loopholes like the U.S. au pair program and by illegally employing undocumented domestic workers to obtain good-quality childcare at below-market prices.
You can thank regulations and licensing rules for pricing child care out of the reach of many lower-income families, writes Cathy Reisenwitz, while the same red tape leaves wealthier women with gray market or black market solutions.