Untapped FL 090723 DIGITAL


August 24, 2023


Childcare gaps drive parents out of the workforce, reduce tax revenue for the state, and put undue strain on Florida households and businesses.

Numerous studies have highlighted the developmental benefits of high-quality childcare for young children. Children given appropriate childcare and high-quality early learning opportunities perform better in school, are less likely to drop out, and achieve higher test scores. Conversely, children with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) resulting from insufficient childcare are more than twice as likely to experience anxiety, three and a half times as likely to be depressed, and seven times more likely to engage in alcohol abuse. 

Access to childcare also allows parents the flexibility to pursue careers or enhance their education or vocational skills. Consequently, breakdowns in the childcare and early learning system result in valuable missed opportunities for children and their parents, who may experience disruptions to their work or education. Despite the well-demonstrated developmental benefits resulting from high-quality childcare, families in Florida often struggle to access affordable arrangements for their children. This occurs to the detriment of the state’s economy.

The results of our research during March and April of 2023 suggest that insufficient childcare availability is costing Florida $5.38 billion each year. Our report quantifies the direct economic impacts of the childcare crisis and builds on previous efforts to better understand the magnitude of the childcare problem. In 2019, the U.S. Chamber Foundation conducted studies in four states—Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania—and has since followed up with reports on Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, and Utah. In each state, childcare issues resulted in hundreds of millions—even billions—of dollars of lost economic activity. As policymakers, business leaders, and philanthropic agents consider next steps to position Florida for economic success, childcare and early learning support should land near the top of the priority list. 

Key Findings:

  • Our report estimates that Florida loses $5.38 billion annually due to childcare breakdowns
  • Childcare-related employee turnover and absenteeism costs Florida employers $3.47 billion per year
  • Florida misses $911 million annually in tax revenue due to the childcare crisis
  • Among parents of children younger than six, 78% pay for childcare.