We know that providing diapers to families helps to address an immediate area of need, reducing stress faced by families and improving health for babies. However, do diaper banks result in longer-term financial benefits for families or for communities? A recent study conducted in Connecticut sheds some light on this issue, finding that diaper distributions have an economic benefit for families and communities that greatly exceeds the cost of the diapers.
In 2016, the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis (CCEA), a University Center located within the School of Business at the University of Connecticut, began working with the Diaper Bank of Connecticut to explore the economic benefit of the diaper bank. Among their notable findings:
- Clean diapers help prevent medical expenses – Providing diapers to families eliminates $4.3 million in medical costs due to reductions in both incidences and days of diaper rash.
- Clean diapers promote employment – More than half (56%) of parents using child care to go to work have missed work because of an inadequate supply of diapers. Parents unable to access child care because of a lack of diapers missed work or school on average 4 days per month.
- Receiving diapers helps parents complete current educational programs – Successful completion of educational programs would increase the expected wage and salary base of all students in diaper recipient households by $9,985 annually per graduate.
- Personal income increases 11 times for every dollar invested in diaper assistance – For every $10,000 of assistance from The Diaper Bank, total current personal income of all 2016 diaper recipients will increase by $114,000 in 2016, with increases of $296,000 by 2031.
- Providing diapers increases state tax revenues – For every $10,000 of diaper assistance provided by The Diaper Bank, personal income taxes accruing to the State increases from $3,700 in 2016 to $9,900 in 2031.
What does this mean for the Diaper Bank of Minnesota? While the specific economic model may be different in Minnesota, we are providing similar services as the Diaper Bank of Connecticut to a similar population. Overall, the results show that investing in diaper banks makes good financial sense. Not only do diaper banks help alleviate an immediate stress for families, but they also can play an important role in reducing medical costs and increasing wages, multiplying the economic impact for families and for communities as a whole!