A Comparison of Babysitting Rates In 9 Cities

PHOTO: Lyz Lenz, a blogger and writer from Iowa, said she buys her babysitters their favorite snacks.
David Lenz

If you wanted another reason why residents of New York City have one of the highest costs of living in the U.S., compare babysitting wages with those of folks who live in Colorado.

According to UrbanSitter's 2014 Childcare Rate Survey of nine large metro areas, the average babysitter wage paid in New York City is $15.34 per hour while in Denver it's $10.84 per hour.

The non-scientific survey was conducted in March and April 2014 with UrbanSitter's transactional data from 7,500 families.

Lauren Jimeson, from New York City, pays her babysitters about $20 an hour. She has three children ages 4, 3 and an infant, but she typically does not ask a babysitter to watch all three simultaneously.

Jimeson said she was surprised at how low the rates can be in other cities, including during a recent family trip to Florida.

"We found a babysitter based on a friend’s recommendation. They only paid around $8 or $10. My husband and I looked at each other and said, 'Oh my gosh,' because we pay double that for our kids," Jimeson said.

"It’s pretty incredible just how high it is here," Jimeson said of the Big Apple. "At the same time, you can’t really put a price on people taking care of your kids."

She said she is willing to pay as much as $25 an hour for "quality" sitters who will interact with the children.

"If you are going to pay a premium price, know what the sitter is doing with your kid -- not just watching television," she said.

Jimeson said she is willing to pay for a cab home for her sitters, especially if it's late at night.

Lyz Lenz, blogger and writer behind LyzLenz.com, said she pays her sitters $8 to $10 an hour in Iowa.

Lenz, 31, has two children, 3-years old and 10 months.

"It's pretty ridiculous since they are in ninth and tenth grade and not professionals," Lenz said of the sitters. "But we pay the going rate, plus more for the sitters we love, to keep them coming to us. Also, we buy them their favorite snacks. For that you'd think they would at least vacuum and tidy up, but they don't."

Lenz compares the pay to what she earned as a babysitter.

"When I was in high school I got paid $5 an hour for three kids, and I did the dishes and vacuumed. Either I was dumb or kids these days are smart," she said.

Here are the average hourly babysitting wages in the nine cities that UrbanSitter.com analyzed (listed in descending order by the rate for one child):

New York City Area

$15.34 for one child; $16.76 for two; $18.74 for three.

San Francisco Area

$14.99 for one child; $17.68 for two; $19.46 for three.

Washington, D.C. - Baltimore Area

$13.83 for one child; $15.27 for two; $16.95 for three.

Greater Boston Area

$13.64 for one child; $15.66 for two; $16.77 for three.

Los Angeles Area

$13.53 for one child; $15.87 for two; $17.94 for three.

Seattle Metro Area

$12.80 for one child; $14.83 for two; $15.47 for three.

Greater Chicago Area

$11.91 for one child; $14.07 for two; $15 for three.

San Diego Area

$11.11 for one child; $13.28 for two; $14.82 for three.

Denver Metro Area

$10.84 for one child; $12.26 for two; $14.24 for three.

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