Getting a babysitter is gonna cost you when you go back out again

This could put a damper in many parents’ future date night plans. 

The national average rate for in-person babysitting has jumped to $18.36 an hour for one child, which is a 3.5% increase over 2020, according to UrbanSitter’s 10th annual National Child Care Rates Survey. And parents of multiples will be coughing up even more, as the going rate for two kids is $21.23 an hour on average, which is a 4.5% increase over last year.  

In other words, enjoying four hours away from home to get dinner and a movie as the dining and entertainment industries reopen can run you $73 and change (before tip, of course) for an only child, or starting at around $85 (again, pre-tip) for two kids or more — and that’s not even factoring in the cost of the movie and the meal. 

The babysitting website examined booking data from more than 10,000 families across the country to calculate its current rates. And some cities got off much easier. 

In fact, Sin City is home to the cheapest babysitters in the country, according to this report, with Las Vegas sitters charging $12.53 an hour for one kid, and $17.18 an hour for two. Yet San Francisco parents, already saddled with a high cost of living, can expect to shell out the most money for childcare in the country for the seventh year in row. Bay Area sitters charge $21.17 an hour on average for one child, and $23.56 an hour on average for two, per UrbanSitter’s report.  

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Coastal cities including New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle also saw babysitting rates above the national average, while southern cities such as Miami, Raleigh, N.C., and San Antonio, Texas, enjoyed much lower rates at less than $13 an hour for a single child. 

Check out the map below to see how your city stacks up. 


Almost one in five caregivers (17%) in this survey reported that they are raising their rates during COVID; and indeed, many childcare businesses are also increasing their costs as the industry as a whole has struggled during the pandemic. Lockdowns shuttered many childcare businesses early on, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Now, many of them are struggling to reopen while meeting new COVID-era safety standards, such as more stringent cleaning measures, providing personal protective equipment, as well as reducing the number of children they can take in due to local social distancing guidelines. 

Read more: ‘A body blow to gender equality’: Child-care centers struggle to reopen, while others may raise prices to survive

And also: CDC updates safety guidelines for child care centers as many struggle to stay in business

More than half of parents (57%) surveyed by UrbanSitter said they expected to spend more than $10,000 on childcare in  2021, with more than six in 10 (62%) expecting to drop at least $1,000 on childcare this summer.

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