Households' Geographic Access to Center-based Early Care and Education: Estimates and Methodology from the National Survey of Early Care and Education Households' Geographic Access to Center-based Early Care and Education: Estimates and Methodology from the National Survey of Early Care and Education NSECE METHODOLOGY REPORT OPRE REPORT
Overview This document offers a national picture of selected segments of the early care and education (ECE) market by describing how important attributes of the supply of and the demand for center-based care relate to each other. The document also provides a methodological guide for using newly available data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to study local-level interactions of the supply of and demand for center-based early care and education (ECE) in the United
... ) in the United States. The NSECE design, through its provider cluster, is unique among data sources in connecting providers and households via their geographic proximity. Because of this feature, the NSECE data allows us to describe ECE markets as geographies where transactions between providers and households are most likely occurring. While previous research based on other data sources has used counties or states, researchers can now utilize the NSECE data to offer richer and more precise descriptions of ECE markets. Our general approach is to aggregate provider characteristics to define supply-side attributes of local areas (clusters). We then link these cluster-level aggregate characteristics to households using their shared geography. For this brief we selected some center-based care variables characterizing the services provided to families, such as whether or not the care is full-time, whether or not parents pay for care, and whether or not infants and toddlers are served. Because of their policy relevance, we also included center-based variables that identify whether centers receive Head Start, Pre-K and/or child care subsidy (CCS) funding so that we can characterize families' geographic accessibility to centers receiving public funding. Households are characterized by income-to-poverty ratio, age of children, presence of non-parent adult, use of center-based ECE, and race/ethnicity, as well as community poverty density and urbanicity. For each subgroup of households, we calculate the average proportion of nearby centers having selected characteristics. Both household income and community poverty density are associated with multiple center attributes, but different center attributes exhibit different associations. We find that Hispanic families differ from white non-Hispanic families in their geographic access to several types of centers. Finally, geographic access to Head Start-funded programs is related to household income and community poverty density, although geographic access does not vary in these ways for either Public Pre-K or CCDF funding sources to centers. The report notes a few limitations of this approach, for example, the substantial variation across clusters in the numbers of centers per cluster, and the square mileage covered by each cluster. We conclude with several suggestions for extensions to this approach, including incorporating a wider variety of center characteristics or home-based providers.