Colorado’s economy is healthy, with higher average annual income and personal income growth, and lower unemployment rates than in the United States as a whole. Within the context of this thriving economy, the licensed, paid early care and education industry serves over 100,000 children birth-4 years old and employs more than 22,000 workers. It adds $2.25 to the state economy for every dollar of services purchased in the industry, and it enables parents to participate in the state’s workforce, generating $4.4 billion in earnings annually. At the same time, the cost of high-quality care is prohibitive for many families in Colorado, programs have to make difficult choices when revenues do not meet expenses, and wages for the early care and education workforce do not promote family self-sufficiency. This report explores this paradox and offers suggestions and recommendations for providing support to this industry.

Published by: Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver and Brodsky Research & Consulting
Published date: September 2017