If the Baby-sitter’s Club books were being written today, they’d feature some rich little girls. In an era of stagnating wages and low-paid work replacing more remunerative gigs, babysitters are doing quite nicely, thank you.
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A recent Boston Globe article examined the wages of babysitters across the country and found that the average in the U.S. is $12 an hour. Reporter Megan Woolhouse notes that’s higher than the hourly wages of some health care aides or retail workers.
In fact, babysitters’ pay has risen nine times faster than inflation since the 1970s, and can reach as high as $17 an hour for experienced sitters with college degrees and special skills. (The Globe notes Mandarin as an in-demand offering.)
It should be noted that babysitters, while commanding higher pay, also offer more than their vintage counterparts. A cursory glance at job listings shows that even sitters who don’t offer language instruction might be required to take children to museums, engage them in crafts and projects, and prepare meals for them. That’s far beyond the “making sure the kids are still in one piece when mom and dad come home” that sitters of the 1970s generally offered.
Still, even with these attractions, some sitters are too pricey for working parents whose wages haven’t seen a similar jump.
“In this day and age to find a qualified sitter is difficult and when you finally do, they’re so expensive you can’t really afford them,” Heather Walker, a Boston-area mother of two, tells the Globe. “My husband and I have been on about five dates in five years.”
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