National Survey of Early Care and Education

The National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) is a nationally representative study that characterizes the use and availability of early care and education (ECE) in the United States. The NSECE is funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2012, the NSECE gathered information from households with young children, center-based and home-based providers, and individuals working with children in center-based classrooms in order to assemble the first comprehensive national portrait of ECE use and availability since the early 1990’s. A new round of the NSECE recently took place in 2019 to help shed light on how the ECE landscape had changed since the initial fielding of the study.

In March 2020, about a year after the 2019 NSECE data were collected, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States. This national emergency has had an enormous impact on the ECE sector, but consistent, representative data are not available to help us understand that impact. OPRE has contracted with NORC to conduct a follow-up study with providers and classroom staff to learn more about how the pandemic has affected the ECE community and what assistance is most needed to help us through the recovery.

NSECE 2019 COVID-19 Follow-up Study

The NSECE COVID-19 Follow-up Study is re-interviewing ECE providers and classroom staff who participated in the NSECE 2019. Interviews will be taking place at two time points over the next year, beginning in late Fall 2020 and again later in 2021. NORC will be re-contacting NSECE 2019 participants by mail, email, and phone; there will be no in-person contact. Individuals participating in the study may complete the survey over the phone with an interviewer or online.

The information collected in these interviews will be paired with data from the NSECE 2019 to create a national picture of 2019 ECE providers and classroom both before and during the pandemic. This effort will help us better understand how the pandemic has affected providers and classroom staff, how the ECE supply available to families may have changed, and how providers and classroom staff might better be supported in future emergency situations.

The 2019 NSECE

Because multiple policy and programmatic changes affecting the supply and quality of ECE had been implemented since the 2012 NSECE, a new data collection effort took place to gather updated information. These data will help to answer several questions including:

  • How did the characteristics of ECE providers in 2019 compare to what was observed in 2012? Where and how did the supply of ECE services change?
  • How well was the availability of child care and early education programs meeting the needs of parents and children in 2019?
  • What were the characteristics of the ECE workforce in 2019?
  • How did ECE providers in 2019 blend funding from different sources to cover the costs of serving children from households of different incomes?
  • What motivated providers in 2019 to provide early care and education?

The 2019 NSECE followed a similar design to the 2012 study, including surveying households with young children, center-based providers, home-based providers, and staff working in center-based classrooms.

Data collection for the NSECE 2019 ended in July 2019. Preliminary data files were released beginning in summer 2020 and are available through links on this website. Initial findings from the study were released in late summer 2020.

To stay up to date with what’s happening with the NSECE, follow our blog here.extlink

The 2012 NSECE

The 2012 NSECE included a set of four integrated, nationally representative surveys. These were surveys of: 1) households with children under age 13; 2) home-based providers of ECE; 3) center-based providers of ECE; and 4) the center-based provider workforce. Data was collected from more than 10,000 providers and 11,600 households to help better understand how well families’ needs and preferences aligned with providers’ offerings and constraints. The study used a provider-cluster approach for sampling all four surveys from the same small geographic areas. This approach allowed the survey to document the interaction of the supply of and demand for early care and education where it occurs—in local communities—while simultaneously capturing data that efficiently construct national estimates. Because the experiences of low-income families are of special interest in public policy addressing ECE and school-age care, the NSECE oversampled low-income areas.

Data from the 2012 NSECE have been available since 2014. Prior to this, policy-makers and practitioners at all levels had been trying to improve the current system of early care and education without full information—essentially, treating the patient without being able to examine him/her. Data collected from NSECE are providing the essential information for an accurate diagnosis.

A detailed discussion of 2012 NSECE methodology is currently available here.extlink

Recent Publications:

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2020). Snapshot: How Much of Children’s Early Care and Education Participation in 2012 Was Publicly Funded? OPRE Report No. 2020-69, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/documents/opre/how_much_ece_publicly_funded.pdf

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2017). Snapshot: Parent Work Schedules in Households with Young Children. OPRE Report No. 2017-48, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/resource/parent-work-schedules-in-households-with-young-children

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team. (2016). Early Care and Education Usage and Households’ Out-of-pocket Costs: Tabulations from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE). OPRE Report #2016-09, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.researchconnections.org/childcare/resources/32839/pdf

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team. (2016). Households’ Geographic Access to Center-based Early Care and Education: Estimates and Methodology from the National Survey of Early Care and Education. OPRE Report # 2016-08, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.researchconnections.org/childcare/resources/32106/pdf

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2016). Examining Child Care Subsidy Receipt: An Analysis of Matched NSECE and Illinois Administrative Data. OPRE Report #2016-12, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.researchconnections.org/childcare/resources/31561/pdf

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2016). Characteristics of Home-based Early Care and Education Providers: Initial Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education. OPRE Report #2016-13, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.researchconnections.org/childcare/resources/31515/pdf

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2016). Fact Sheet: How Far Are Early Care and Education Arrangements from Children’s Homes? OPRE Report No. 2016-10, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/distance_to_ece_factsheet_111716_b508.pdf

Tout, K., Starr, R., Wenner, J. & Hilty, R. (2016). Measures used in quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) validation studies. OPRE Research Brief #2016-110. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cceepra_measures_in_qris_validation_studies_1222_508.pdf

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2015). Measuring Predictors of Quality in Early Care and Education Settings in the National Survey of Early Care and Education. OPRE Report #2015-93, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/measuring-predictors-of-quality-in-early-care-and-education-settings-in-the-national-survey-of-early-care-and-education

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2015). Prices Charged in Early Care and Education: Initial Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE). OPRE Report #2015-45, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/prices-charged-early-care-and-education-initial-findings-national-survey-early-care-education-nsece

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2015). Fact Sheet: Provision of Early Care and Education during Non-Standard Hours. (OPRE Report No. 2015-44). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/fact-sheet-provision-of-early-care-and-education-non-standard-hours

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2015). Fact Sheet: Who is Providing Home-Based Early Care and Education? OPRE Report No. 2015-43, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/fact-sheet-who-is-providing-home-based-early-care-and-education

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2014). Characteristics of Center-based Early Care and Education Programs: Initial Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE). OPRE Report #2014-73a, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/characteristics-of-center-based-early-care-and-education-programs-initial-findings-from-the-national-survey-of-earlyv

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team. (2014). Household search for and perceptions of early care and education: Initial findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) (OPRE Report No. 2014-55a). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/household-search-for-and-perceptions-of-early-care-and-education-initial-findings-from-the-national-survey

National Survey of Early Care and Education Team. (2013). Number and Characteristics of Early Care and Education (ECE) Teachers and Caregivers: Initial Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE). OPRE Report #2013-38, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/number-and-characteristics-of-early-care-and-education-ece-teachers-and

National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team. (2013). National Survey of Early Care and Education: Summary Data Collection and Sampling Methodology. OPRE Report #2013-46, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nsece_summarymethodology_toopre_102913.pdf

Bowman, M., Datta, A.R., & Yan, T. (2010). Design Phase of the National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand (NSCCSD): Cognitive Interview Findings Report for Demand Questionnaire. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cog_interview_demand.pdf

Bowman, M., Datta, A. R., & Yan, T. (2010). Design Phase of the National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand (NSCCSD): Final Recommendations for the Demand Questionnaire. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/final_demand.pdf

Bowman, M., & Datta, A. R. (2010). Design Phase of the National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand (NSCCSD): Cognitive Interview Findings Report for Home-based Provider Questionnaire. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cog_interview_home.pdf

Datta, A. R., & Bowman, M., (2010). Design Phase of the National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand (NSCCSD): Cognitive Interview Findings Report for Center-based Provider Questionnaire. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/cog_interview_center.pdf

Datta, A. R., Goerge, R., & Witte, A. (2010). Design Phase of the National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand (NSCCSD): Final Recommendations for the Center-based Provider Questionnaire. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/final_center.pdf

Datta, A. R., Goerge, R., & Witte, A. (2010). Design Phase of the National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand (NSCCSD): Final Recommendations for the Home-based Provider Questionnaire. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/final_homebased.pdf

Datta, A. R., Goerge, R., & Yan, T. (2010). Design Phase of the National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand (NSCCSD): Final Report. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nsccsd_final.pdf

Wolter, K., Bowman, M., Datta, A. R., Goerge, R., Jr., V. W., & Yan, T. (2010). Design Phase of the National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand (NSCCSD): Revised Sampling Report and Addendum. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/revised_sampling.pdf

Bowman, M., Connelly, J., Datta, A. R., Guiltinan, S., & Yan, T. (2009). Design Phase of the National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand (NSCCSD): Feasibility Test Report. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/feasibility_test.pdf

Guzman, L., Forry, N., Rivers, A., Kuhfeld, M., Wandner, L., Atienza, A., …Broege, N. (2009). Design Phase: National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand 2010 Compendium of Measures, Volume 1: Supply-Side Measures. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.norc.org/PDFs/NSECE/NSECE%20Compendium_Vol%201%20Supply.pdf

Guzman, L., Forry, N., Rivers, A., Kuhfeld, M., Wandner, L., Atienza, A., …Broege, N. (2009). Design Phase: National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand 2010 Compendium of Measures, Volume 2: Demand-Side Measures. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.norc.org/PDFs/NSECE/NSECE%20Compendium_Vol%202%20Demand.pdf

Guzman, L., Forry, N., Zaslow, M., Kinukawa, A., Rivers, A., Witte, A., & Weber, B. (2009). Design Phase: National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand -2010. Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago. Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/literature_review.pdf

Data Files


2019 Household public-use data file and documentation: here

2019 Household calendar data file and documentation: here

2019 Home-based public-use data file and documentation: here

2019 Home-based, listed quick-tabulation data-file and documentation: here

2019 Home-based, unlisted quick-tabulation data-file and documentation: here

2019 Center-based public-use data file and documentation: here

2019 Center-based quick-tabulation data-file and documentation: here

2019 Workforce public-use data file and documentation: here

2019 Workforce quick-tabulation data-file and documentation: here

WORKING WITH 2012 NSECE DATA


Datasets from the 2012 NSECE are available in the Child & Family Data Archiveextlink

Questions about working with 2012 NSECE data can be directed to nsece@norc.org.

Contact the NSECE project team

For survey respondents:
1-800-487-4609
nsece-prov@norc.org

For data users:
nsece@norc.org

NSECE Design Phase Reports at the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

NSECE Reports at the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluationextlink

2012 NSECE Analytic Reports at the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

NSECE Reports at the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluationextlink

2012 NSECE Data Files and Documentation

NSECE, 2012 Dataextlink

NSECE TEAM


A. Rupa Datta
Project Director
datta-rupa@norc.org

NSECE Project Descriptions and Team Members

Infographics and Visualizations


 

 

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