The Availability of Early Childhood Education and Care in the U.S.


This project examines the availability of early childhood care and education programs nationwide. Child care and preschool are currently provided by a very complex network of public and private organizations ranging from public school pre-kindergarten and Head Start to nursery schools and family day care homes.  The complexity of this sector, and the lack of system-wide data, has made it very hard for researchers and policy-makers to gain a clear understanding of what programs are available to families and how this has changed over time.

This project employs restricted-use census data to provide a much more complete understanding of early childhood program availability than has previously been available.  The study makes use of detailed, longitudinal data on all child care centers and workers in the United States over a 15 year period.  With colleagues at Stanford University, Bassok will investigate how access to care varies across communities, how the recent expansion of school-based preschool has influenced the use of other types of care, and how efforts to expand and improve child care options has influenced children's school readiness.

Associated Faculty

  • Daphna Bassok, Associate Professor
    Associate Director, EdPolicyWorks