FPI Staff
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April 13, 2016

Childcare is One of the Biggest Expenses Florida Families Face

Caring for an infant in Florida costs 96.6% more than in-state tuition for a public 4-year college in the state. It’s 73.3% more to pay for care of a four-year old than to pay college tuition. Floridians with young children already know that childcare is expensive. But state lawmakers may not realize the negative impact the high cost of childcare is having on Florida’s working families and its economy.

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If we capped childcare costs at 10% of a family’s income, Florida working families with young children would save an average of $3460 per year, authors note in “It’s Time for an Ambitious National Investment in America’s children”,  a report from the Economic Policy Institute.

Florida not only has the largest gap between cost of caring for a toddler and the costs of sending a child to college, but it suffers from a series of compounding factors that mean paying for that expensive childcare is particularly hard. The state has a high number of people in low-paying and minimum wage work; many child care workers’ wages are insufficient to meet the costs of living. See all the details about child care costs in Florida here: The Costs of Childcare in Florida.

The report paints a dire picture for the state, but it also offers a way out. The authors suggest:

  • Meaningful child care reform that capped families’ child care expenses at 10% of their income would expand Florida’s economy by 2%.That’s $10.4 billion of new economic activity.
  • A typical Florida family with an infant could save $3,460 on child care costs if we implemented this reform. This would free up 9% of their annualincome to spend on other necessities and encourage work.
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