An overview of child care and early learning in the United States


The Center for American Progress


“This data dashboard provides an overview of the child care and early learning landscape at the national level and in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The resource includes a set of data indicators describing 1) demographics and population characteristics of young children; 2) the cost of child care; 3) access and supply of child care; 4) average wages and employment of child care workers; 5) state exclusionary discipline policies for early care and education programs; 6) Head Start enrollment and program access; and 7) state child care program standards.

Taken together, these national and state-by-state data make it abundantly clear that high-quality child care and early learning opportunities are unaffordable and inaccessible for far too many families across the United States. The time is long overdue for large-scale public investments in a child care system that truly meets the needs of all families while also promoting fair compensation for the essential work of early childhood educators. Expanding access to affordable, high-quality child care and early learning opportunities has proven benefits for children, families, and the economy overall, with investments paying for themselves many times over in the long term.

The sections below discuss national trends and provide narrative context on variables included in the data dashboard. Each category highlights key findings, longitudinal trends, and takeaways for understanding the landscape of child care and early learning in the United States.”
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