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Sitters are pulling in nearly double the hourly rate

2 minute read

If you’re having trouble making ends meet in your minimum wage work, try switching jobs to babysitting.

Family care services site reports that the national average for babysitting is nearly $14 an hour. In some places, it’s almost $17 an hour. And depending on the care you give, you could be making even more than that.

Your availability matters. If you’re making $14 an hour and you get hired last-minute for a sitting job, you could make an additional $3 an hour. If you do an impressive job, more than 3-in-4 parents would probably give you a raise. Childcare sitting is more lucrative than you probably thought it was.

“Parents are increasingly paying more for a babysitter, and in 2016, the national average hourly rate was $13.97,” says Joyce Hodel, a data scientist at “What surprised us is that, according to the 2017 Babysitter Survey, parents are also willing to pay even more in certain circumstances. They say they’ll pay extra to help them get through the chaotic hours before and after school; when they’re in need of a last-minute sitter; and for babysitters who have additional skills, education, and training.”

“We’re seeing that this is a babysitter’s market, with parents recognizing that sitters have a huge responsibility and are providing a priceless service,” she adds.

Where you live could mean even more money

Childcare has become a lucrative business across the nation, but in some places, workers are earning more than in others. According to, the five most expensive big cities to hire a babysitter are:

  1. San Jose, CA: $16.68 an hour
  2. San Francisco, CA: $16.52
  3. Bridgeport, CT: $15.74
  4. Boston, MA: $15.51
  5. New York, NY: $15.23

San Jose workers may be pulling in the most per hour, but it’s probably because the residents there spend nearly 43 percent of their income on their mortgage payments. San Francisco wasn’t far behind, with just over 42 percent of their income going toward mortgage payments. Renters there spend nearly 44 percent of their income on housing.

When it comes to the least-expensive cities to hire a babysitter:

  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

With Ohio taking three of the bottom 5 spots, it’s not surprising that most Ohio residents pay some of the lowest mortgage payments in the country. In Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, residents there pay around 12 percent of their income toward mortgage payments.

How care has changed

Seven years ago, sitters were still making more than minimum wage, but much closer to it. In 2010, the national average was just over $11 an hour.

And parents know the true value of child care: 83 percent think sitters should be paid above the minimum $7.25 an hour. Two-thirds would pay a sitter more for safety training and 41 percent would up their payments if a sitter had an early education degree.

Even with the increase in pay depending on skills, 41 percent of parents expect to pay at least $1,000 a year on sitting (another 22 percent expect to pay more than $2,000 a year).

With caretakers pulling in nearly double the minimum wage, they have more opportunity than others, as those at the bottom of the income bracket are barely making ends meet. Good news may be coming to them, though, as even employers want a higher minimum wage for their workers.

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About the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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