The average babysitting rate has jumped to more than $16 an hour across the country.
Babysitters are banking more than ever.
The average hourly babysitting rate has climbed to $16.43 for one child, according to UrbanSitter’s 2018 child care survey of more than 20,000 families across the country. That’s an 8% increase from last year’s average of $15.20 an hour for a single child. And parents are now handing over $18.86 per hour to sitters to watch two kids, and $20.56 per hour to handle three.
And considering the average babysitting gig runs about four hours, that will set you back about $65 before you factor in whether to tip or not, which about half (55%) do. No wonder most parents (60%) told UrbanSitter they spend at least $1,000 a year on babysitters, with 38% of families hiring a sitter at least once a week.
This backs Care.com’s most recent babysitter survey last year, which also found that more than four in 10 parents now spend at least $1,000 on babysitting in a year. “Parents are increasingly paying more for a babysitter,” said Joyce Hodel, a data scientist at Care.com. “We’re seeing that this is a babysitter’s market.”
If you live in certain cities — usually those along the coasts, where cost of living is high — you may need fork over a lot more than that. UrbanSitter found San Francisco to be the most expensive city to hire a babysitter at $17.34 an hour for one kid, while Phoenix is home to the least expensive babysitters in the nation at $11.83 an hour for one child. And Care.com’s 2017 list of priciest babysitters is pretty similar.
Five most expensive big cities to hire a babysitter (per hour):
1. San Jose, CA: $16.68
2. San Francisco, CA: $16.52
3. Bridgeport, CT: $15.74
4. Boston, MA: $15.51
5. New York, NY: $15.23
In other cities — typically in places where the cost of living is pretty low — the going rate for babysitters is much lower.
Five least expensive big cities to hire a babysitter (per hour):
1. Youngstown, OH: $11.81
2. Toledo, OH: $12.24
3. McAllen, TX: $12.36
4. Lakewood, FL: $12.52
5. Akron, OH: $12.67
You can look up the average pay for a sitter in your city here.
Of course, what you pay your sitter also depends on a number of factors. Parents say they pay more for sitters who come before or after school, spending roughly $2 an hour extra. Last-minute bookings usually run an additional $3 an hour. Many parents also say they would pay more if their babysitter had safety training, an early education degree or a child care certification.
Adding to the costs is the issue of tipping the sitter. Just more than half (55%) of parents say they tip on top of the hourly rate. Most of those who tip (29%) just round up: So if you owe your babysitter $18, you might just fork over a $20 bill and call it a night. But a number of parents (45%) don’t tip at all, instead offering them perks such as enjoying their entertainment center (including on-demand movies), free food or delivery ordering, paid transportation or mileage, as well as museum or amusement park passes.
UrbanSitter also quizzed parents on their reasons for hiring child care in the first place, and found most were splurging on a date night, with dinner being the top choice for 80% of parents, followed by a concert or show (49%) or a movie (41%). And the “me time” escapes parents were ready to pay sitters dearly for include a spa or massage (26%), a workout (24%) — and 13% were apparently so floored by the prospect of kids-free time that they responded, “I don’t know.”
This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated with UrbanSitter’s new data.
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