Submitted via regulations.gov
Liana Christin Landivar
U.S. Department of Labor,
200 Constitution Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20210
Dear Dr. Landivar,
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions. EPI conducts research and analysis on the economic status of working America, proposes public policies that protect and improve the economic conditions of low- and middle-income workers, and assesses policies with respect to how well they further those goals. EPI submits these comments in support of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed information collection seeking to update the National Database of Childcare Prices (NDCP).
Since the initial release of the National Database of Childcare Prices in 2022, EPI has become familiar with DOL’s data collection and analysis to use in future updates to EPI’s Family Budget Calculator and childcare fact sheets.1 EPI’s family budgets are important tools to better understand family resources and requirements to achieve a decent standard of living for 10 different family types in every county and metro area in the country. Since January 2020, EPI’s Family Budget Calculator has received nearly 1.2 million pageviews.
Childcare is one of the largest expense families with children face, comparable to the cost of housing in many places in the United States. EPI’s family budgets are used to help inform policymakers of the true cost of living and helps localities and businesses set living wages for their workers. For example, the organization Living Wage for US uses EPI family budget data to certify employers that pay wages commensurate with the cost of living where they are located.2
DOL’s county level data is essential for better understanding the childcare landscape and the cost burden for families across the United States. It is imperative that DOL is able to continue their work, expand their scope to states and territories, such as Puerto Rico, so that policymakers and the public can best understand childcare costs. Currently there is no comprehensive database on childcare costs in Puerto Rico. It is also important for DOL to continue data collection in future years so that researchers and policymakers alike have the most up-to-date information with which to act.
EPI wants to applaud the DOL Women’s Bureau for collecting the NDCP data and looks forward to using future iterations for our research on the cost of childcare in the United States.
Director of Data Management and Analysis