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New study shows lack of high-quality child care costs DC businesses nearly $80 million per year

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Damaging impact of unaffordable child care also costs taxpayers $64 million and parents $252 million each year
Under 3 DC
Press release
Publication Date: 
13 Mar 2024


WASHINGTON, March 13, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Under 3 DC published a groundbreaking new study that shows a lack of high-quality child care in the District of Columbia is costing parents more than $250 million per year due to damaging impacts on productivity, negative actions by employers, and an inability to advance in careers when adequate child care cannot be secured. The rest of the city is also feeling the impact, with insufficient child care costing businesses $79 million and taxpayers $64 million each year.


Lower employment rates among parents and guardians leads to lower incomes for families, worse productivity for businesses, and decreased tax revenue for the District. The annual cost per parent of children under age three is $8,100, or $252 million aggregated across all similar DC parents. The annual cost to businesses for each parent is $2,540, or $79 million aggregated across DC parents.


To build the report, Zogby Analytics surveyed 308 DC residents who are working parents of children under age three. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said the cost of care makes it harder for them to live in DC.


The study credits District leadership for having made legislative strides toward a high-quality early education system, which includes wins such as the 2008 Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Act and 2018’s Birth-to-Three For All DC Act, as well as initiatives to enhance the qualifications and benefits of early educators. Despite these victories, the challenge remains to fully and permanently fund these programs and make necessary improvements.