Child-care is a hot-button du jour topic in the regionalism, population growth, economic development communities. It’s not hard to understand why. The tab in our area can be more than the average mortgage payment for a median-price home. That makes it a stiff headwind to growing the population with young, working families.
Childcare costs an average of $900 a month in the Kingsport-Bristol metro area, according to the Economic Policy Institute. It’s a few dollars cheaper in the Johnson City metro area. That makes sense. There a more children age 5 and under in Kingsport-Bristol than in the Johnson City area.
The average mortgage payment for a median-priced home in Sullivan Co. was $779 a month at the end of 2019, according to Attom Data Solutions. It was $842 a month in Washington Co.
The picture isn’t any prettier when rents are factored in. The median for a 3-bedroom rental in the region is $985 a month while the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s local current Fair Market Rent for a 3-bedroom rental is $983. Those numbers pale in comparison to what you’ll find in the for-rent ads.
Here’s the other side of this local cost of living challenge for families. Adult daycare costs dwarf child daycare costs. Locally, the median is a little over $2,000 a month, according to Genworth’s Costs of Care analysis for our area. And yes, the population of elders in the Tri-Cities is far greater than the number of children in the prime child-care ages. Current Census reports show there are 46,149 area residents 75 and older and 18,610 who are 5 or under. Although not all people in these age groups use adult or childcare services, the total is representative of the most likely population for those services. Back-of the envelope calculations show – on average – 25 local residents celebrate their 70th birthday every day. That trend will continue for a decade or so.
Here’s what the most current local median monthly cost of elder care services are:
Homemaker and health aide services – $3,861.
Community and assisted living
Adult daycare – $2,080
Assisted living facility – $4,248
Nursing home facility
Semi-private room – $7,118
Private room – $7,422
In-home skilled nursing – $87.50 per visit.
Homemaker services provide help with household tasks that cannot be managed alone including things like cooking, cleaning, and running errands. The current annual increase was 7.14%.
Home health aide services include more extensive hands-on personal care, but not medical care. Current annual increase 4.6%.
Adult daycare is social and support services in a community-based setting. Various models are designed to offer socialization, supervision, and structured activities. Some programs may provide personal care, transportation, medical management, and meals. Current annual increase 4.2%.
Assisted living provides residential arrangements for personal care and health services. It may not be as extensive as a nursing home and is often an alternative to a nursing home or an intermediate level on long-term care. Current annual increase 1.3%.
Nursing home care is a higher level of supervision than assisted living. It includes personal care assistance, room and board, supervision, medication, therapies and rehabilitation, and on-side nursing care 24-hours a day. Current annual increase 1% for a semi-private room and 1.8% for private rooms.