North Carolinians see a child care crisis—and it is negatively impacting the state’s economy.
A recent statewide survey of North Carolina voters commissioned by the NC Chamber Foundation shows North Carolinians are experiencing a child care crisis that is hurting families and making it hard for businesses to hire employees and grow. With federal child care stabilization funding ending this year, the crisis is likely to worsen.
Lack of quality, affordable child care is causing parents to leave the workforce or turn down opportunities—exacerbating the state’s labor shortage and threatening business and economic growth.
- According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina has a severe worker shortage with 62 available workers for every 100 open jobs.
- As of March 2023, there were 360,000 job openings in North Carolina.
- 26% of parents with children five and under said they left the workforce because they couldn’t find affordable child care.
- 60% of parents with children five and under said they had to miss work because of a problem with child care.
- 37% of parents with children five and under refused a job opportunity, promotion, or job change because it would increase child care expenses.
- 32% of parents with children five and under did not pursue job training or continuing education because of a lack of affordable child care.
77% of North Carolina voters believe that the lack of quality, affordable child care is a serious problem. Only the cost of housing and crime are higher. More than 80% of voters say the lack of child care is a problem that will not solve itself and that improving quality and making child care more affordable is a good use of taxpayer money. Child care is a nonpartisan issue and the majority of voters across political affiliation support increasing state funding to make it happen.
89% say that low wages for child care teachers and workers is a serious problem. Of that number, 66% believe it is extremely or very serious.
North Carolinians clearly see a link between child care and the economy. 79% agree that quality, affordable child care is important to strengthen the economy and help workers provide for their families.
- 95% of North Carolinians say quality child care programs help ensure workers are able to go to work reliably.
- 94% say that quality child care programs help children develop important social skills, such as self-confidence, self-discipline, and the ability to work well with others.
- 93% agree that quality child care programs help children have academic success in school.
In every part of North Carolina and across political affiliation, voters want the state to act, including increasing state funding, so more families have access to affordable, quality child care.
87% say taking action to ensure more working families have access to affordable, quality child care should be an important priority for North Carolina this year.
- 79% support increasing state funding to provide more working families with access to affordable, quality child care, including:
- 67% of Conservative Republicans
- 64% of Republicans
- 80% of Independents
- 91% of Democrats
- 80% Rural
- 84% City
- 76% Suburb
- 77% Small Town
- 86% say that improving the quality of child care and making it more affordable for families is a good investment of taxpayers’ money.
- 74% of Conservative Republicans
- 76% of Republicans
- 86% of Independents
- 97% of Democrats
Affordable, quality child care supports working parents on the job, allows businesses to recruit and retain talent, and helps North Carolina’s future workforce develop skills for success in school and life.