Unemployed? Consider going to Washington, D.C. to work in child care

I visited a friend with a baby in Washington, D.C. Trying to return to her high-paying job at a government contractor, she has contacted practically every day care center in the city and in the northern Virginia suburbs. They typically have two-year waiting lists. I visited another friend, a professor at Georgetown University. His wife is expecting in February. “They have day care at Georgetown for children of employees, but it is harder to get into than the university itself is for undergrad,” he noted. There is no way to apply until the child is actually born.

The young mother asked me how it was possible that the day care centers have not been able to expand fast enough to keep pace with the growth in wealth and jobs that has been fueled by the expansion of the federal government, contractors to the government, and the lobbying industry (is the term “Government Gold Rush” taken?)? I posited that all of the Washingtonians who are reliable enough workers to show up every morning at 7:00 am have already been hired, either by a day care center, the health care industry, or a government-affiliated employer.

So if you’ve been having trouble finding a job and enjoy spending time with kids, consider hanging out a shingle as a nanny (or “manny”!) in Washington, D.C. Pay ranges from $35,000 per year (illegal immigrants with no experience, paid in cash) to $100,000 per year.



  1. Matt Kerr

    October 15, 2012 @ 6:45 pm


    Daycare is an amazing thing. At the University I work at, there were three daycare centres. One of the largest universities in Australia. 21 places total for babies. I had my baby boy on a waiting list from about 3 months post conception until Two years later when two of the centres were wiped out in the floods and I have not heard of the waiting list since. Brisbane however does have places, and we found a great place nearer my wife’s work.
    For your interest, daycare here is subsidized significantly by the Federal Government. We love our middle class welfare.

  2. Jeffrey Friedl

    October 15, 2012 @ 7:33 pm


    Entirely uninformed speculation, but I’d guess that the reason the free market is not filling this need would be due to over-burdensome government regulation creating a barrier to entry.

    10 years ago in California we used a very nice lady for daycare, who would watch our boy in her house. She’d been doing it for years and was wonderful with kids, but California seemed to be trying to regulate her out of existence with increasingly draconian requirements of all sorts that, for the most part, did absolutely nothing to enhance quality or safety.

  3. Joel

    October 15, 2012 @ 10:10 pm


    Wow, that’s crazy. Seattle is not a particularly cheap place to live, but we paid about $36k over-the-table for an experienced nanny, and when we decided to switch to daycare we found a spot in a good one almost immediately.

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