Calculating childcare costs as percentage of family income

Hello, I am trying to calculate the percentage of family income spent on childcare for Michigan in 2022.

I have tried using the SPMCHXPNS variable, but the estimated percentage is below what I have found estimated here for the state of Michigan in 2021: How much are families spending on childcare? - USAFacts

Can someone please confirm that the SPMCHXPNS variable is appropriate for calculating the share of a family’s income that is spent on childcare?

Thank you,


The SPMCHXPNS variable is appropriate for calculating the share of income spent on childcare. Without knowing exactly how that report you linked calculated their number, and how you calculated your number, and how far apart the calculations are, it’s hard to say why they aren’t matching. One thing to consider is that the SPM variables use a different definition of family than the income variables. In order to get total family income for an SPM unit, you’ll need to add up INCTOT for all members within an SPM unit, as identified by SPMFAMUNIT (within households). There is also SPMTOTRES, which gives the dollar value of all resources available to the family, including non-monetary benefits.

Thank you for the response Matthew. This helps clarify the variables and when to use them.