Cost of child care can be more than college tuition

SEATTLE -- Most parents would agree that child care is not cheap, but a new report found that in some states child care costs more than college tuition.

According to the nonprofit group Child Care Aware of America, the average center-based child care costs went up about 3 percent across the U.S. in 2012. The report found that child care costs range from around $16,000 per year to slightly more than $5,000 per year.

Child Care Aware said the reasons for the huge gap between those numbers have to do with labor costs, regulations within each state and other expenses like housing, food and utilities.

In compiling its list, Child Care Aware compared average child care costs to the median family income in each state.

Washington ranked among the least affordable states for child care. The average cost is $12,108 per year. For a married couple with a median income of $84,464 a year, child care may take up 14.30% of that. The most expensive child care cost was found in Oregon, where the average was $13,452 per year. The median income for a married couple was reported at $72,226 a year, which meant child care would take 18.60% of their income.

To learn more about Child Care Aware, click here.