100 = US Average. Below 100 means cheaper than the US average. Above 100 means more expensive. About our Cost of Living Index
|Cost of Living Index||Cherry Hill, NJ||Birmingham, AL||U.S. Avg||Difference
DID YOU KNOW?In order to keep your same standard of living your salary can vary greatly.
- whether you buy or rent, require child care, or want to include taxes. This is why we are now offering a Premium Salary & Cost of Living Calculator
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- Compare Cities cost of living across 9 different categories
- Personal salary calculations can optionally include Home ownership or rental, Child care, and Taxes (with details on state and local sales, income, property and automobile taxes)
- Includes the cost of Child Care for toddlers or infants, at a day care center or home care
- Groceries prices, detailed for 29 staple items in six categories
- Difference in cost of Utilities, including electric, gas and fuel oil
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Note: Figure represents the average of costs for annual care of an infant and a 4-year-old.
In urban areas the cost is for care at a child care center and for home care in rural areas.
BestPlaces data for child care expenses is the annual cost of child care for both home-based care and at larger child care centers. The average child care cost includes costs for both center-based child care facilities and home-based care for infants and toddlers. (“Toddlers” are defined to be children one to four years old.)
In determining the average child care cost for each county, we used the costs for center-based child care in counties which are part of a major metropolitan area. For rural counties which are not part of a major metro area, we used the costs for home-based child care because these providers are more likely to be available than the larger child care centers.
The expense of infant child care is greater than toddler care because babies require more attention and care. Infant care needs a lower ratio of caregivers to children, so costs are higher. Our analysis finds that in child care centers, infant care is on the average 25% more expensive than toddler care. For home-based child care, the difference is only 11% since home care generally already has a lower child-caregiver ratio.
Our BestPlaces child care statistics are based on our research of child care providers across the United States and reports published by Child Care Aware of America, Care.com and the Economic Policy Institute. For some counties, child care expenses were not directly available. Using the available data at the national, state and county level, we used linear regression to identify the most significant predictor variables and create equations to provide values for the missing data.
Child care centers are usually associated with:
• Larger facilities, with many children (from 20–100 or more)
• Separate areas for different age groups
• Larger staff, often with some professionals and certified caregivers
• Professional administrators
Child care centers are likely to have these benefits:
• Caregivers with professional or specialized training
• More children and teachers for your child to socialize and bond with
• A more structured environment and a professional infrastructure
• More teachers, which means substitutes are readily available
• Supervision of caregivers by managers
Home-based providers often have:
• Smaller facilities, such as a home or church
• Few children, often 3-10
• Mixed ages
• Fewer caregivers, usually 1-4
Home-based care usually has these advantages:
• Less expensive
• Mixed age groups for diverse interactions
• Lower risk for communicative illnesses (fewer children)
• More home-like, less institutional
• Fewer children per teacher
IRS Child care credit
You may be eligible to claim a tax credit for expenses related to child care and dependent care.
If you paid a care provider (such as a daycare center, babysitter, or summer camp), to care for a child under age 12 or younger (or a disabled dependent of any age), you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child, or up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents.
There is a dollar limit on the amount of your work-related expenses you can use to figure the credit. This limit is $3,000 for one qualifying person, or $6,000 for two or more qualifying persons. If you received dependent care benefits that you exclude or deduct from your income, you must subtract that amount from the dollar limit that applies to you.
Your child care credit is determined by multiplying your work-related expenses by a percentage (after applying the earned income and dollar limits). This percentage varies from 35% (if your adjusted gross income is $15,000 or less) to 20% (if your AGI is over $43,000). The maximum child care credit can vary from $1,200 to $2,100 (depending on your income and assuming $6,000 or more of child care expenses).
To claim the credit, complete and file IRS tax form 2441 with your Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040NR. Consult the IRS publication 503, “Child and Dependent Care Expenses” for more details.
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