Investments in Our Children Would Yield High Returns
April 6th, 2016
Today, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a new report entitled It’s time for an ambitious national investment in America’s children. This report demonstrates the benefits of public investment in early childhood care and education to children, families, society, and the economy. These investments include, but are not limited to, expanded public funding for home visits by trained nurses to help parents both before and after childbirth, subsidies to allow parents to afford high-quality child care, and the public provision of early childhood education, including high-quality pre-kindergarten education.
These types of investments would create a better-educated and healthier workforce and reduce income inequality as more resources would be available to provide quality child care to families with children. The information below highlights the need, as well as some of the potential benefits, to investing in Mississippi’s children.
Annual care costs are $4,822 for a Mississippi family with an infant and $3,997 for a family with a four-year-old. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines child care as “affordable” if it costs 10 percent or less of a family’s income. By the current 10 percent metric, only 50.2 percent of Mississippi families are able to afford infant care, and only 59.2 percent of Mississippi families are able to afford care for a four-year-old.
Benefits that stem from increased in-kind resources to families with children
Investments that capped child care costs at 10 percent of family income – for both a family with an infant and a family with an infant and a 4-year-old in full-year care – would save the median family with an infant in Mississippi $350 a year. The median family with an infant and a four-year-old, meanwhile, would save $4,347 a year. Because of the progressive nature of a cap on child care expenditures as a share of income, the savings would be even greater for families lower on the income scale.
Benefits that stem from parents’ increased labor force participation
Using an estimate taken from research indicating that decreasing child care costs by 1 percent would increase mothers’ labor force participation by 0.2 percent, the authors calculate that Mississippi’s gross state product (GSP) would increase by 0.3 percent or $290 million if these investments were made. Nationally, these gains to gross domestic product would also boost federal tax revenue by roughly $70 billion annually, providing a very large base of economic support to finance this ambitious investment in our country’s children.
Child care is one of the biggest expenses Mississippi families face. Investments in high-quality child care and early childhood education will create significant, long-term benefits for Mississippi’s children and the economy alike.
Bivens, J., Garcia, E., Gould, E., Weiss, E., & Wilson, V. (2016, April 6). It’s time for an ambitious national investment in America’s children. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/