a transatlantic mommy / mummy blog – my kids say "tomato" & "to-mah-to"

Childcare costs in Chicago and London

So childcare is not one of those things you necessarily want to scrimp on – you want the best quality of care for your child afterall. However – childcare costs, especially in large cities make finding the right solution very challenging.

When we lived in a suburban city in the US childcare costs were about $300-$400 USD/month at really nice daycare centers and in-home childcare (childminders) would be less than that. {total costs approx $5,000 USD / yr per child}

When we lived in an urban city in the US, in Chicago we were looking at about $215-$350 USD/ wk for up to 10 hrs per day 52 weeks a year. {total costs approx $15,000 USD / yr per child}

So if you have 2 kids in daycare in an urban city like Chicago, you’d need to make $40,000 / yr pre-tax at your job to come home with no money. Considering that – it’s no wonder that many women take a couple years out of work or stay out altogether to raise their children and watch them instead of paying for daycare.

Here’s an infographic I found interesting on this subject:

ChildCare FINAL Design

So having lived in Chicago I new childcare would be expensive in London but I was still kinda shocked about how much it costs.

If you’re looking at one of the private nurseries or daycare centers in central London they range from 250 – 400 GBP per week, with most being around the 350 mark. What does that mean in dollars? Well, it means 18,200 GBP which is about $30,000 USD/ child per year.

Ok sure – living in England you get paid in GBP not USD, but in a way it’s equivalent, because your salary is adjusted when you move to account for that. So for example if you’re making $40,000 USD in Chicago which is enough to pay for 2 kids in daycare and nothing more – then in the UK you’d be making 25,000 GBP – which is not enough for private daycare or nursery in central London.

Besides private nurseries – there are child centers and childminders (a babysitter who has an in-home small daycare). Child centers are like council run (think of it as local government run) daycare centers. These are about 200-250 GBP/week in central London. Ok great, but the waitlist for these is incredibly long. We were on some waitlists for these when we first came over – we were offered a place eventually, 10 months after we needed it. So, if you made 25,000 GBP you could probably afford a child and half at a child center.

Luckily, school starts 1 year earlier here than in the US. While Kindergarten starts at 5 in the US, Nursery starts at 3-4, and Reception at 4-5.

Ok so then you’ve got your kids in school, but what do you do if you’re a working mum, or working couple – how do you pick up the kids from school around 3? Well.. then we get into afterschool nannies, nannies and aupairs.

We had wanted to have a third child at some point – but trying to figure out how to afford it while keeping our current style of life in London has been a challenge.

How have you managed childcare? Did you find you had to stop working? How did you make it work?

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6 years ago 1 Comment Short URL
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