Increasing Access to Childcare on the Path to Prosperity in Florida
By: Sheridan Meek, Research Economist, Florida Chamber Foundation
Access to childcare plays an essential role in the ability of parents to participate in the workforce and have successful employment. A cyclical obstacle to prosperity is created when the inability to access or afford childcare impacts a parent’s capacity to earn a steady income.
Data from the American Community Survey shows a relationship between parents, labor force participation and employment – for parents with younger children, or children of various ages, the labor force participation rate and employment ratio are lower. More specifically, Floridians with a child (or children) who are under the age of 6 have a lower labor force participation rate and employment ratio than those with children ages 6-17. This is likely a reflection of access to childcare for pre-school age children, a figure that is supported by the fact that only 50 percent of 3-4 year olds are enrolled in school. The labor force participation for Floridians ages 25-64 is 77.2 percent, and 73.2 percent of the population is employed. This gap between activity in the workforce for the general population and Floridians with children, especially young children, highlights the need for childcare to secure a flourishing workforce and financial prosperity for all Floridians.