New Study Reveals Iowa Loses Millions in Potential Revenue Due to Inadequate Childcare

February 28, 2020

Mike Ralston, President, ABI
Mike Ralston, President, ABI

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today released a report examining the impact of childcare issues on Iowa’s state economy. The report is part of a broader “Untapped Potential” study of four U.S. states—Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania—that reveals the cost of childcare challenges in each state and provides opportunities to unlock economic potential for states and employers.

The study found that Iowa loses an estimated $935 million annually for the state’s economy. This number includes an estimated $153 million annual loss in tax revenue as well as an estimated annual loss to Iowa’s employers of $781 million on absences and employee turnover as a result of childcare breakdowns.

“This report demonstrates the significant impact that childcare has on both families and employers across the state of Iowa,” said Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. “We will continue to work with local employers to address childcare challenges and create solutions for Iowa’s workforce of today and tomorrow.”

Key study findings include:

  • Childcare issues result in an estimated $935 million loss annually for Iowa’s economy.
  • Iowa loses an estimated $153 million annually in tax revenue due to childcare issues.
  • Absences and employee turnover cost Iowa employers an estimated $781 million per year.
  • More than half of parents in Iowa reported missing work due to childcare issues in the past 3 months.
  • Nearly 70% of parents in Iowa rely on family members for at least some childcare.
  • Approximately a quarter of enrolled parents in Iowa postponed school or a training program due to childcare issues.

The series of reports was unveiled at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s national Early Ed Summit at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. where workforce leaders and early education advocates discussed the economic impact of childcare breakdowns, unique challenges faced by each state, and the role of business in solving this childcare crisis.

“Each state's challenges are unique—as are their childcare systems, and the diversity of their employers—so the solutions that tackle these challenges must be unique as well,” said Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce. “To solve this complex issue, it will take a collaboration of partners, including federal and state investment, support from the business community, philanthropic organizations, and expertise from early education advocates and providers.”

To access the full reports, videos, report methodology, and other resources, visit: