Childcare Increases Workforce Participation

Another economic development issue that would improve Wyoming's economy: accessible and affordable childcare. We'll be working with partners to generate a policy proposal for Wyoming later this spring.


In the meantime, we're drawing on examples that demonstrate the reasons that low-fee, universal child care works--for families and for businesses--in working class communities. Perhaps the best documented example is a two-decades long effort in Quebec that has produced profound effects for women, families, and businesses:


"Quebec’s program, which introduced low-fee, universal child care in the province in 1996, centered on a few core premises: that if the government helped make child care accessible and affordable, it would allow more women to join the workforce, increase childhood development and social skills, and ultimately raise revenue for the government through increased payroll taxes. In at least two of those objectives, the scheme has been widely successful, says Pierre Fortin, an economist at the University of Quebec at Montreal, and the country’s leading expert in the economics of subsidized child care: It’s increased participation of women in the workforce, and cost efficiency."


"Since beginning the program more than two decades ago, Quebec has seen the rate of women age 26 to 44 in the workforce reach 85 percent, the highest in the world, according to Fortin."


"Between 1997—shortly after the start of the program—and 2016, the employment rate for mothers of kids age 5 or younger has spiked 16 percent, from 64 percent to 80 percent, according to Fortin. Across the rest of Canada in that same period, that same demographic of mothers saw a more modest 4 percent increase in the employment rate."


Read the full analysis of the benefits this program provides.

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