5 most expensive states for child care

The rising cost of child care has become a heavy burden for cash-strapped parents, particularly in these states, where it averages at least 15% of a family's annual income.

1. Massachusetts
Avg. annual cost of child care: $16,500
Cost as a % of median income: 16%

Massachusetts is a pricey state where salaries and housing costs are high. It's no wonder residents have to shell out big bucks to keep their kids in day care here.

Child care workers are paid more in Massachusetts than elsewhere in the country. Since payroll accounts for about 80% of a program's expense, that drives up the price of care, said Dave McGrath, deputy commissioner of field operations for the state's Department of Early Education and Care.

Another factor: There can be no more than three kids per teacher and no more than seven in a class. Plus, child-care providers are required to spend 20 hours a year on professional development. That's great for kids, but it comes at a price.

"Regulations in Massachusetts are recognized as national standards and there is a cost to that," McGrath said.

By Jessica Dickler - Last updated September 27 2011: 5:29 AM ET
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Child care costs: What do you pay?

In Massachusetts, the cost of child care for a two-parent, middle-class family averages 16% of their annual income. In Mississippi, costs average 7.3%. See how your state ranks.

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