Report | March 3, 2023

$6.65 Billion: The Growing, Annual Cost of Pennsylvania's Child Care Crisis

Impact on families, businesses, and taxpayers has more than doubled since 2018

For Pennsylvania, inadequate child care options impose substantial and long-lasting consequences; its effects are felt by parents, businesses, and the commonwealth’s taxpayers. The top-line findings of a new study examining the economic impacts of problems in Pennsylvania’s child care system on working parents, employers, and taxpayers describe the consequences. The verdict: an annual economic cost of $6.65 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue.

Productivity challenges affect both employers and employees:

  • 56 percent of Pennsylvania parents surveyed report being late for work due to child care struggles.
  • Half or more report missing full days of work, leaving work early, or being distracted at work.
  • More than half of parents said problems with child care hurt their efforts at work.

The predictable impact: 1 in 4 say they’ve been reprimanded and 18 percent have been let go or fired. Meanwhile, productivity problems cause Pennsylvania employers to lose $1.52 billion annually due to child care challenges faced by their workforce.

Pennsylvania’s economy and the success of individual companies depend on working families. Working families depend on quality child care. Unfortunately this system is in crisis, which is significantly impacting our economy and workforce. Investing in our commonwealth’s child care infrastructure is an imperative that we, as business leaders, can no longer ignore.

Stephanie Doliveira, Executive Vice President, People & Culture, Sheetz, Inc.

Beyond its impact on the workforce and economy today, Pennsylvania’s child care crisis damages the future workforce by depriving children of nurturing, stimulating environments that support healthy brain development while their parents work.

Policymakers must support evidence-based policies and programs that enhance the availability and affordability of high-quality child care, to improve life outcomes for Pennsylvania’s children today and strengthen the commonwealth’s workforce and economy both now and in the years to come.

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