The cost of a babysitter has increased dramatically in the last several years, but residents of some states are paying significantly more than others, according to recent spending data analyses.
Overall, spending on babysitting increased 61 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the first quarter of 2011, according to the Intuit Consumer Spending Index, which uses credit card and bank transaction data from Intuit's online budgeting site Mint.com.
Based on Intuit's data, which comes from more than 2 million users who opt into providing demographic information, residents of Rhode Island and Delaware are spending the most on child care per month. Meanwhile residents of Utah, Ohio and Florida are spending the least on child care. That could be because parents in some states might rely more on their own parents or other family members for child care than parents in other states, according to Intuit.
"For example in Utah, parents tend to have friends ... and also family members take care of the kids more. So they're not necessarily spend money on babysitting," said Hitha Prabhakar, retail analyst and Mint.com spokesperson.
Mint.com users in Utah logged $5.62 per month in child care on their Mint.com accounts, meanwhile those in Rhode Island logged $30.50 per month. If those numbers seem low, it's because many parents pay their babysitters in cash. Mint.com doesn't account for transactions made in cash unless users take the time to enter them manually.
Still, a trend is clear: overall spending on child care is rising. In May of this year, Mint.com users logged an average of $9.25 per month on child care vs. $5.15 in May 2011.
But higher child care costs don't necessarily mean parents are less likely to go out to dinner or a night at the movies, according to Intuit, especially as consumers' willingness to spend has improved.
"A lot of my friends have kids too and I'm recognizing that they're going out more and I think that really has to do with the fact that the economy is getting better," Prabhakar told "Big Data Download."
Incomes also appear to correlate with spending on child care, based on Intuit's data. In May, Mint.com users making $150,000 or more per year logged an average of $24.21 per month on their Mint.com accounts for child care. But in the same period, users with an income of $25,000 per year or less logged $3.39 on their accounts for that spending category, according to Intuit's data.
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- Personal Finance - Lifestyle