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By News Release @ 9:37 PM :: 4334 Views :: Education K-12, Hawaii Statistics, Cost of Living

The Cost of Child Care in Hawaii

From Economic Policy Institute, April, 2016

Child care in Hawaii is expensive.

  • The average annual cost of infant care in Hawaii is $8,280—that’s $690 per month.
  • Child care for a 4-year-old costs $9,312, or $776 each month.

Child care is one of the biggest expenses families face.

  • Infant care in Hawaii costs $64 (0.8%) more per year than in-state tuition for 4-year public college.
  • That makes Hawaii one of 33 states and DC where infant care is more expensive than college.
  • In Hawaii, infant care costs 42.4% of average rent.
Annual cost in Hawaii
  • College: $8,216
  • Housing: $19,524
  • 4-year-old care: $9,312
  • Infant care: $8,280

Child care is unaffordable for typical families in Hawaii.

  • Infant care for one child would take up 11.1% of a typical family’s income in Hawaii.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), child care is affordable if it costs no more than 10% of a family’s income. By this standard, only 47.3% of Hawaii families can afford infant care.
Families with two children face an even larger burden.
  • Child care for two children—an infant and a 4-year-old—costs $17,592. That’s 9.9% less than average rent in Hawaii.
  • Child care for an infant and a 4-year-old costs more than rent in 1 out of 2 metropolitan and rural areas in Hawaii.
  • A typical family in Hawaii would have to spend 23.5% of their income on child care for an infant and a 4-year-old.

Child care is out of reach for low-wage workers.

  • A minimum-wage worker in Hawaii would need to work full time for 24 weeks, or from January to June, just to pay for child care for one infant.
Yet, child care workers still struggle to get by.
  • Nationally, child care workers’ families are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as other workers’ families (14.7% compared with 6.7%).
  • In all of the metropolitan areas in Hawaii, more than 90% of child care workers don’t make enough to afford the basic cost of living in their area.
  • A typical child care worker in Hawaii would have to spend 45.4% of her earnings to put her own child in infant care.
How big a bite does child care take?
Infant care costs as a share of income in Hawaii

For a median family with children

  • Share of income to afford infant care -- 11.1%
  • Remaining income -- 88.9%

For a minimum-wage worker

  • Share of income to afford infant care -- 46.8%
  • Remaining income -- 53.2%

For a typical child care worker

  • Share of income to afford infant care -- 45.4%
  • Remaining income -- 54.6%

Everyone will benefit if we solve this problem.

  • Meaningful child care reform that capped families’ child care expenses at 10% of their income would expand Hawaii’s economy by 0.3%. That’s $219.0 million of new economic activity.
  • A typical Hawaii family with an infant could save $788 on child care costs if we implemented this reform. This would free up 1.2% of their annual income to spend on other necessities.

How does your state stack up?


  • Annual infant care costs:$8,280
  • Median family income:$74,919
  • Infant care costs as a share of median family income:11.1%
  • Savings to typical families with an infant from capping child care expenditures at 10% of income:$788
  • Share of median income freed up by capping infant care expenditures at 10% of income:1.2%
  • Share of families able to afford infant care (i.e., costs are 10% or less of income):47.3%
  • Full-time minimum wage salary:$17,680
  • Infant care costs as a share of minimum-wage earnings:46.8%
  • Median child care worker salary:$18,230
  • Infant care costs as a share of child care worker earnings:45.4%
  • In-state tuition for 4-year public college:$8,216
  • Infant care costs as a share of public college tuition:100.8%
  • Annual rent:$19,524
  • Infant care as a share of rent:42.4%
  • Increase in state’s economy from capping families’ child care expenditures at 10% of income:0.3% ($219.0 million)




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