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Maternal Employment Drops when Child Care is Expensive and Hard to Find

Liana Christin Landivar, William J. Scarborough, Caitlyn Collins, and Leah Ruppanner summarizing how rates of maternal employment decline when child care is expensive and difficult to find. As federal policy is lacking, the authors explain, states have a primary role in reducing barriers to employment for mothers by expanding eligibility for child care subsidies and providing funds for pre-K programs.


  • Financial burdens for childcare expenses are not evenly distributed across states and regions of the United States.
  • High prices and limited access to quality early care and education are two primary barriers to maternal employment.
  • Public investments in child care infrastructure have strong and positive relationships to increased maternal employment.
  • While federal policy lags, states can play a role in reducing barriers to maternal employment by expanding eligibility for childcare subsidies and providing publicly funded pre-K.


Child Development & Well-Being, Children, Early Childhood Care & Education, Economic Support, Economic Support General, Education & Training, Employment, Employment General


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