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ERIC Number: ED510329
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 47
Abstractor: ERIC
The Economic Impact of the Child Care Industry in Southeast Wisconsin
Kovach, Melissa; Lam, Eva; Dickman, Anneliese
Public Policy Forum
Discussions of early childhood care and education usually focus on its social and educational value, and how it helps children and families. More recently, the focus in many states, including Wisconsin, has been on potential investments in child care quality improvements as strategies for improving long-term educational outcomes for disadvantaged youth. But, in addition to providing important social and educational benefits, child care functions as an economically important industry in its own right. Like other industries, it generates immediate economic benefits in terms of gross receipts and employment. The purchases of child care facility owners and employees create ripple effects across the economy, creating additional economic impact. The child care industry also plays an important role in enabling parents to maintain employment and earnings, thereby further impacting the health of local economies. This report seeks to quantify the economic impact of the child care industry in southeastern Wisconsin. It is the first of two reports that collectively will serve as the centerpiece of the Public Policy Forum's three-year early childhood education research project. The second report--which will be released later this year--will address the costs of paying for a hypothetical high quality early childhood care and education system in southeastern Wisconsin, and compare those costs to the benefits quantified in this report plus additional benefits derived from a higher quality system. In tandem, the two reports will provide perspective for policymakers regarding the economic impacts of early childhood care and education and the extent to which the benefits of higher quality care may or may not outweigh the public cost of improvements. The State of Wisconsin currently invests nearly $350 million annually statewide in child care subsidies for low-income families, yet little is known about the impact of that investment, $200 million of which is made in Milwaukee County. This report provides a starting point by analyzing and quantifying the economic impacts currently associated with formal, paid child care (both parent purchased and publicly subsidized) in the southeast Wisconsin region. This baseline information on the importance of the existing child care system to the regional economy not only sets the stage for the Forum's follow-up report, but also hopefully will be of value to policymakers and economic development leaders. Appended are: (1) Estimating Direct Employment: Method 1; (2) Estimating Direct Employment: Method 2; (3) Estimating Parents Served; and (4) Multipliers and Industry Comparison Data. (Contains 10 tables, 31 footnotes, and 9 charts.)
Public Policy Forum. 633 West Wisconsin Avenue Suite 406, Milwaukee, WI 53203. Tel: 414-276-8240; Fax: 414-276-9962; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: Community; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Brico Fund; Greater Milwaukee Foundation; Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation; Faye McBeath Foundation; Rockwell Automation; Weiss Family Foundation; Buffett Early Childhood Fund; Joyce Foundation
Authoring Institution: Public Policy Forum
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin