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Rowan County, North Carolina

Project status

Completed January, 2003

Lead Agency

Rowan Partnership for Children

Contact Person

Rosemarie Allen, Executive Director
Rowan Partnership for Children
P.O. Box 1036
Salisbury, NC 28145-1036
Ph: 704.630.9085
Fax: 704.630.6259

Research Firm

Scope View Strategic Advantage
Bill Millett, President
501-C Fenton Place
Charlotte, NC 28207


  • Number of Establishments
  • Child Care Labor Force
  • Children Served
  • Number of Parents with Children in Paid Care
  • Multiplier Effects on Local Economy
  • Square Footage and Future Demand


  • Long Report (15+ Pages)
  • Stand-Alone Executive Summary/Brochure
  • Newspaper Article / Media Coverage
  • Conducted a Series of Presentations
  • Involved Business / Economic Development
  • Tours of Child Care Centers for Business Leaders

Case Study

Case Study: Rowan County, North Carolina
“The Multiple Impacts of Child Care on Rowan County’s Economy”
Not Available Online
Study Completed: January, 2003


Membership and Context

The Rowan County economic impact study was conducted by the Rowan Partnership for Children as an outgrowth of comprehensive strategic planning. During strategic planning sessions, one of the work groups discussing the long term economic impact of quality child care said that what was missing was information on the economic impact of child care on the community. The Board of Directors, which initiated the report, was comprised of 27 members including representatives of schools, a county commissioner and various human services agencies. Following the strategic planning sessions, child care providers and parents were brought on board, along with a number of business groups (e.g. the Executive Vice President of the Business Alliance and representatives from several local banks.) A regional economic development expert, who facilitated the strategic planning sessions, developed the design of the study and this helped to ensure a valid approach and reliable outcomes.

The Rowan County economic impact study was the first of it's kind in North Carolina, and predated by more than a year a statewide study sponsored by the North Carolina Partnership for Children.

The Study:

Sector Definition

The Rowan County study was based on data from a survey mailed to 47 child care centers and 36 family child care providers in March of 2001. The contact information for these providers was made available to the county by the North Carolina Division of Child Development. It is believed that these 83 facilities represent 100% of the formal child care providers in the county. Unregulated home-based child care was not included in the study.

Data Analysis

Rather than calculating Gross Receipts of the industry based on per child revenues (as most studies do) the Rowan County study team used data from their survey to estimate payroll generation and purchase of goods and services. Multipliers were used to estimate total local payroll impact. Great effort was made to strip out local, state and federal taxes so that only actual net payroll dollars were used in these calculations

Additionally, estimates of the number of working parents who lived in Rowan County in August 2002 were used to calculate collective earnings and labor pool expansion.

Measurement* Rowan Co.
Number of Establishments 83
Child Care Labor Force 531
Children Served 2,229
Gross Receipts  
Number of Parents with Children in Paid Care X
Multiplier Effects on Local Economy X
Governmental Transfers / Subsidies  
Tax Receipts / Fiscal Impact  
Square Footage and Future Demand X

*Not all studies included the same components making it difficult to compare the numbers provided in this chart with those of other studies. In its definition of the number of establishments, this study included licensed and regulated center and family care, and did not include regulation-exempt center or home-based care and education.

Unique Findings

In addition to job creation, payroll generation and labor pool expansion, the Rowan County study also quantified the number of square feet that child care centers occupy. This is relevant because the majority of child care center space is owned by occupants, not rented or leased. The study estimated that there will be a need for 10% more child care space in the next three years. The report also cited figures from a 1997 North Carolina study which showed a positive return on investment in subsidized child care1 as well as longitudinal data on societal cost savings that occur from investments in high quality care and education for low-income children.


Organizational Change and Outreach

The report's findings were presented to many service clubs in the county. Local media coverage has been extensive with articles published in both the local daily newspaper and the Rowan Business Alliance’s Newsletter. Rosie Allen, Executive Director of the Rowan County Partnership, meets frequently with a local reporter to discuss child care issues and this reporter often attends the Partnership’s board meetings. Within the child care community a more business-like language has developed with people describing themselves as “child care professionals” as opposed to “child care providers”. There also has been a shift away from the term “day care” and toward the word “child care.”


While the report did not include any policy recommendations, the child care community now coordinates formal and informal tours of child care facilities for local business leaders. The tours allow business leaders to see the effects of child care investments and help rally support for local and statewide child care initiatives. Business leaders are now the first to tell elected officials in the State legislature to preserve funding for quality child care.

Interview with:
Rosie Allen
Executive Director
Rowan Partnership for Children
July 1, 2004


[1] Rohacek, M. H., & Russell, S. D. (1997). Child Care Child Care Subsidy: An Investment Strategy for North Carolina . Chapel Hill , N.C. : Day Care Services Association.