In 23 states, it costs more to send your child to daycare than college

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REUTERS/Juan Medina

Day care is expensive.

In fact, educating your preschooler may be pricier than sending your teenager to college.

“In nearly half the country, it’s now more expensive to educate a 4-year-old in preschool than an 18-year-old in college,” Eric Morath at the Wall Street Journal reports.

The cost of child care outpaces the cost of a four-year college education in 23 states.

The data comes from a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

The cost of full-time day care or preschool is most expensive in Massachusetts – $12,781 annually, about 20% more than the average in-state college tuition of $10,702.

The largest discrepancy is in Florida, where child care is 73% more expensive than college.

“High-quality child care is out of reach for many American families – not just those with low incomes,” the EPI reports. “Child care costs are one of the most significant expenses in a family’s budget, largely because child care and early education is a labor-intensive industry, requiring a low student-to-teacher ratio.”

Of course, in-state college tuition is usually the cheapest available option for college – keep in mind that out-of-state tuition and private schools could be much more expensive than child care. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015-16 school year was $32,405 at private colleges in the US, while public universities cost an average of $23,893 for out-of-state students.

Below, find the 10 US states with the biggest discrepancy between day care and in-state college costs, or visit the Wall Street Journal for the full list of 23 and to see where your state falls:


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Arches National Park in Utah.
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Andrew S./Shutterstock

10. Utah

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $6,612

Annual in-state college tuition: $5,656

Child care as a share of tuition: 116.9%


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White Sands, New Mexico.
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Shutterstock

9. New Mexico

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $7,098

Annual in-state college tuition: $5,973

Child care as a share of tuition: 118.8%


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Boston, Massachusetts.
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Flickr/bjaglin

8. Massachusetts

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $12,781

Annual in-state college tuition: $10,702

Child care as a share of tuition: 119.4%


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Denver, Colorado.
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Shutterstock

7. Colorado

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $9,882

Annual in-state college tuition: $8,228

Child care as a share of tuition: 120.1%


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Anchorage, Alaska.
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Paxson Woelber/Flickr

6. Alaska

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $7,652

Annual in-state college tuition: $6,141

Child care as a share of tuition: 124.6%


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Missoula, Montana.
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Wikimedia Commons

5. Montana

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $7,922

Annual in-state college tuition: $6,323

Child care as a share of tuition: 125.3%


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Leigh Lake in Wyoming.
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Shutterstock

4. Wyoming

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $5,833

Annual in-state college tuition: $3,756

Child care as a share of tuition: 155.3%


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Reno, Nevada.
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iStock / photoquest7

3. Nevada

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $8,118

Annual in-state college tuition: $5,029

Child care as a share of tuition: 161.4%


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New York, New York.
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Shutterstock

2. New York

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $11,700

Annual in-state college tuition: $6,892

Child care as a share of tuition: 169.8%


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Sarasota, Florida
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Shutterstock

1. Florida

Annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old: $7,668

Annual in-state college tuition: $4,423

Child care as a share of tuition: 173.4%

Read the full Wall Street Journal article to see all 23 states where child care is more expensive than college.