Brief | February 21, 2023

The Growing, Annual Cost of the Infant-Toddler Child Care Crisis in Mississippi

Impact on families, businesses, and taxpayers could cost the state $659 million each year

ReadyNation’s new national study found that America’s infant-toddler child care crisis now costs the nation $122 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue every year. This staggering economic toll impacts working parents, their employers, and the nation’s taxpayers. ReadyNation’s 2018 study found that the crisis was already severely damaging the pre-pandemic economy, exacting a cost of $57 billion annually. A combination of COVID-19 and insufficient policy action have now significantly worsened the crisis.

Mississippi’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) represents roughly 0.5 percent of the nation’s GDP. That suggests that the lack of reliable child care for working parents of young children, up to age 3, could come to an estimated $659 million in annual costs for Mississippi.

Mississippi policymakers should promote access to affordable, high-quality infant and toddler care. The stakes are enormously high for the vast majority of Mississippi families, who depend on parents’ employment. The stakes are high as well for infants and toddlers, who depend on nurturing, stimulating environments both at home and in child care for healthy brain development during the first three years of life. Mississippi employers also have a stake, given the costs that accrue to them as a result of inadequate infant-toddler child care. Mississippi policymakers must support evidence-based policies and programs that enhance the availability and affordability of high-quality child care, particularly for infants and toddlers. With wise investments, policymakers can improve life outcomes for millions of children today and strengthen the Mississippi workforce and economy both now and in the years to come.

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