Untapped Potential
February 28, 2020

Untapped Potential: Economic Impact of Childcare Breakdowns on U.S. States

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, we see childcare as a two-generation workforce issue, crucial for our workforce of today and workforce of tomorrow. Access to affordable, quality childcare is essential for working parents to enter, re-enter, or stay in the workforce, yet it is hard to come by. The first years of life are critical for children to build a strong foundation upon which future learning is built, yet current supply cannot meet demand.

The challenges we face are persistent and complex but solvable. And the business community must be part of that solution.

There have been numerous studies highlighting the benefits of early childhood education for both children and their parents. Children gain a strong educational foundation and their parents can pursue careers or enhance their education or vocational skills. Several states–Louisiana, Maryland, Georgia, Washington, and Indiana–conducted reports and found that they each lose over $1 billion annually in economic activity due to breakdowns in childcare.

Building on the work of these states, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation partnered with the business communities in Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania and their early education partners to understand just how much breakdowns in childcare cost each state. In this study we looked at the causes of childcare challenges as well as motivations behind why parents select various childcare providers. Knowing many employers want to facilitate more access to childcare but do not know where to begin, we sought to learn what types of childcare benefits working parents desire most from employers.

The results indicate there is tremendous untapped economic potential in each state if childcare challenges are solved.

IDAHO

IOWA

MISSISSIPPI

PENNSYLVANIA

Production Credits

  • Data: Cicero Group
  • Reports: Polygraph Creative
  • Video: Kindling Group, Siskel/Jacobs Productions
  • Photography: Idaho, Zach Nichols; Iowa, Sam Hoyle; Pennsylvania, Martha Rial; Mississippi, Dave Walker