By Ashley Hopkinson
When choosing child care, families across the country cited high cost as a major obstacle and the availability of care as an important factor, according to a national report on early childhood program participation, released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The report, titled “Early Childhood Program Participation, Results from the National Household of Education Surveys Program of 2016,” is based on surveys of families in 50 states and the District of Columbia. The data was not categorized by state but some information is divided by regions in the U.S., such as Midwest and Northeast. The U.S. Census Bureau conducted the survey.
The study found that among families who said they had difficulty finding child care, 31 percent cited cost as the primary reason. While the study didn’t break down responses by state, an EdSource survey of 640 parents in California earlier this year found that 72 percent who have young children in child care or preschool said they spend more than 10 percent of their incomes on child care or preschool. In the study released Tuesday, the availability of child care slots was listed as the second most common barrier to child care, cited by 27 percent of parents. Twenty-two percent of families said it was difficult to find quality child care.
The report is based on surveys of families of 5,837 children, from newborn to age 5, who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten. The surveys ask parents about factors that affected their child care choices, including cost, reliability and access to care. The report also includes data on how those child care choices can vary based on a family’s income, education, race and family type, or if it is a two-parent/guardian or single-parent/guardian household.
The study found that among families who said they had difficulty finding childcare, 31 percent cited cost as the primary reason. The availability of child care slots was listed as the second most…