Survey: Small Business Growth Slowed by Lack of Affordable Child Care

New survey data from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices highlights a significant barrier to small business growth: the lack of affordable and accessible child care.
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According to Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices, the lack of affordable and accessible child care is a “significant barrier” to small business growth. // Stock photo

New survey data from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices highlights a significant barrier to small business growth: the lack of affordable and accessible child care.

A majority of small business owners report there are insufficient affordable child care programs in their communities. Over one-third of owners noted that their employees have been forced to cut their work hours or forgo work entirely because of child care challenges.

Furthermore, small business owners are eager for policy solutions to address these issues, including federally funded programs and tax credits to offer child care benefits.

Specifically, the new survey of small business owners found:

  • 84 percent believe it has been difficult for working parents to afford high-quality child care programs for their children (66 percent very difficult, 18 percent somewhat difficult), while 2 percent say it has not been difficult at all.
  • More than half (57 percent) say that where they live, there are not enough child care programs that are high-quality and affordable.
  • More than a third (35 percent) say their employees have been forced to cut their work hours or forgo work entirely because of the cost and/or availability of child care.
  • 38 percent say that a lack of child care has had a negative impact on their ability to operate or grow their business.
  • 62 percent say being able to offer a child care benefit to their employees would have a positive impact on talent recruitment and retention.

The new data identifies potential policy solutions small businesses would support to address this challenge. Seventy-seven percent of small business owners would support policymakers increasing federal funding programs that help family’s better access affordable child care.

And 70 percent would support legislation to increase the tax credit available to businesses who want to locate or provide child care for their workforce from $150,000 to $500,000.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices recently revealed small business owners overwhelmingly believe their issues are not being sufficiently addressed by 2024 candidates. Specifically, 55 percent of small business owners said access to affordable child care has not been sufficiently addressed on the campaign trail.

“Small business owners have made clear that the child care crisis is exacerbating the biggest challenge they’re facing right now — hiring and retaining qualified employees,” says Jill McCarthy, national director, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices. “Ensuring small business owners’ voices are heard on this issue by our local, state, and federal elected officials is a priority for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices.”

The nationwide survey of 1,259 small business owners was taken April 15-19, 2024. Respondents came from 47 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.

“When child care is hard to find or impossible to afford, it doesn’t just affect working families. Child care challenges are business challenges,” says Sarah Rittling, executive director of the First Five Years Fund.

“In recent years, polls like this have showcased that these challenges can be devastating for employers while robbing families of peace of mind and young children of the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment. Addressing this will take a variety of approaches, including sustained federal support and updates to tax provisions that help businesses and families.”

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices, which in April marked its four-year anniversary and includes a Detroit chapter, builds on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and organizes program participants to advocate for policies that matter to them. Learn more at gs.com/10ksb-voices.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing a comprehensive business education program and access to capital and business support services.

To date, 10,000 Small Businesses has served more than 15,000 small businesses across the United States. The program has reached businesses from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Learn more at gs.com/10ksb.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is a leading global financial institution that delivers a broad range of financial services to a large and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments, and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world, including downtown Detroit.