In a survey conducted by Sittercity.com, Charlotte, North Carolina, came in second (with sitters there averaging just over $11 an hour), followed by Naperville, Illinois (where sitters average about $11.29).
This information naturally leads to the next question: What's the most expensive town for a sitter? If you guessed New York City (like I did), you're wrong: Foggy San Francisco wins the prize for priciest, with the average sitter there costing a whopping $15.45 an hour. Cambridge, Massachusetts, came in second (sitters there average $14.58 an hour), and the Big Apple was a close third (N.Y.C. sitters average around $14.52 an hour).
I found this bit of news particularly timely, considering that I just shelled out $75 to have a woman come to my house on a Saturday night to watch my 3-year-old sleep for a few hours while I had dinner down the street.
The last time we hired a sitter for date night at the prevailing N.Y.C. metro-area rate was in May. The time before that was February. My point: The cost of date-night babysitters is so high that date night just doesn't exist in our house unless the grandparents are visiting. In the end, the sitter costs more than the dinner, and despite all the articles preaching the merits of date night, it's just not practical.
This isn't to say that I don't value childcare or that I don't think the people who provide full-time care for our children shouldn't be properly compensated. It's hard work. I do it every day, and I know that a good caregiver is invaluable.
Granted, most people posting job listings on Sittercity are looking for full-time nannies, and I think that if you want full-time, one-on-one care for your child, it's going to cost you -- especially in a town as expensive as San Francisco or New York. But for a Saturday night out at a local restaurant, a large price tag is hard to swallow.