- Key Facts on the Economic Impact of Child Care in Arkansas
FRB of St. Louis
We presented our child care fact sheet for Arkansas at a September roundtable that brought together community and business leaders from across the state. Its goal was to continue building momentum around quality early childhood education and its connection to economic development as part of our shared economic prosperity.
“Ensuring community leaders, businesses and economic developers have access to reliable data, presented in a digestible manner, is vital in assisting us in improving social mobility and addressing wealth, health, education and gender inequities in our region,” said Charity Hallman, senior vice president of community and economic development for Hope Enterprise Corp. and a 2022 LISC community fellow.
Child care is a critical support for much of the workforce. Mothers and fathers rely on others to care for their children while they are at work. For Arkansas, we found that over half (53%) of working adults ages 25-54 were parents. Of those parents, 37% had children under 6. This means that in 2021, a sizable chunk of the workforce needed child care during work hours. For some, this might mean a nonworking parent or other family member. However, in most married households with children, both parents work. For these parents and for single parents, affordable child care is necessary for their participation in the workforce.
However, if a parent does step out of the labor force when their child is young, it is much more likely to be the mother than the father. In Arkansas, 67% of mothers with young children are employed or actively looking for work, compared with 72% of women without children. For men, the pattern flips. Almost all fathers with young children (94%) are employed or looking for work, while a smaller majority (81%) of childless men participate in the labor force.