Economic development starts with early childhood development—and the best investments ensure all children, particularly those from low-income families, have access to high-quality early childhood education. Evidence shows that increased access to high-quality early childhood learning and care programs results in short- and long-term benefits to individuals and society. In fact, some programs have demonstrated that every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children from birth through age five generates significant returns to society based on improved social and economic outcomes. Research shows that for every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education, society gains up to $7.30 in economic returns over the long-term.
In addition to providing long-term benefits to children and society at large, access to high-quality child care and early childhood education has positive effects for parents as well. Support for child care increases parents’ participation in the workforce and contributes to overall economic productivity. Conversely, lack of affordable, reliable child care takes a major toll on the economy, as working families across the country lose more than $8 billion in wages annually due to inadequate child care access.