Resources from the National Survey of Early Care and Education
Questions about the data files or documentation? Email the NSECE team at firstname.lastname@example.org
OPRE is sponsoring an NSECE Users' Group to provide a forum for researchers to learn from one another and to help the NSECE team develop the most useful technical assistance materials. You can join the mailing list for the group.
The NSECE provides a comprehensive picture of the use and availability of early care and education (ECE) across the United States. The study is funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and consists of a set of four integrated, nationally representative surveys conducted in 2012. There were surveys of:
- Households with children under 13,
- Home-based providers of ECE,
- Center-based providers of ECE, and
- The center-based provider workforce.
Together they characterize the supply of and demand for early care and education in America and permit better understanding of how well families' needs and preferences coordinate with providers' offerings and constraints.
For more information on the design of the NSECE, please see the summary data collection and sampling methodology report.
For a more detailed picture of the NSECE sample design, please see the NSECE sampling report.
Downloadable Quick Tabulation Files
These files are specifically designed for easy, off-the-shelf use without extensive investments in data management or review of documentation. The project team has developed them as a resource for agency staff, policy firms, and researchers who would like to become familiar with the NSECE data or answer quick-turnaround policy-relevant questions for which tabulations are needed.
- Household Child-level Quick Tabulation File (Data Set 5)
- Household Quick Tabulation File (DS6)
- Home-based Unlisted Provider Quick Tabulation File (DS3)
- Home-based Listed Provider Quick Tabulation File (DS4)
- Center-based Provider Quick Tabulation File (DS2)
- Workforce Quick Tabulation File (DS1)
Downloadable Public-Use Files
These public-use data files are the most comprehensive set of downloadable files including nearly all of the questionnaire response data along with a number of created variables and community characteristics data that will facilitate analysis on key Early Care and Education topics. They will be of interest to a wide audience of researchers investigating various topics related to early care and education in the US.
- Household Calendar Public-Use Data File (DS10)
- Household Public-Use Data File (DS11)
- Home-based Public-Use Data File (DS9)
- Center-based Public-Use File (DS8)
- Workforce Public-Use File (DS7)
Level 1 Restricted-Use Files
These data files include questionnaire response data with limited disclosure risk as well as additional community characteristics data that will facilitate analysis on key Early Care and Education topics. These files will also be of interest to a wide audience of researchers investigating various topics related to early care and education in the US.
Levels 2 and 3 Restricted-Use data files
The original project team at NORC at the University of Chicago will provide access to the Levels 2 and 3 Restricted-Use data files, subject to approval by NORC and OPRE. These files may include state and county as well as linking variables for cluster-level analyses and county- and cluster-level sampling.
Sampling approach and study design
- This self-study tutorial covers the overall study design and sampling approach of the NSECE (PDF/PPT), including sample sources and the four NSECE surveys at the foundation of the NSECE data collection design. Highlighted topics include sample sizes, the use of provider clusters, geographic characteristics available, and the importance of weighting due to the study design.
- There is also an overview of the complex sample design and data collection utilized by the NSECE (PDF research brief)
Design-corrected Variance Estimation of NSECE Statistics
- Statistics derived from the NSECE study without proper weighting adjustment will result in biased estimates.This resource offers programming examples on how to calculate two common statistics—totals and percentages—accounting for survey design variables.
Data files and documentation
- The data files and documentation are described in detail in this self-study tutorial (PDF/PPT). The slides will describe the type of variables available in each of the five categories of data files the NSECE will offer: Quick Tabulation, Public Use, Level 1 Restricted-Use Questionnaire, Level 2 Restricted-Use Geographic, and Level 3 Restricted-Use Identifying. In addition, types of documentation and the information they contain are described here.
- The following self-study tutorials (PDF/PPT) focus on each survey used in the NSECE: the Center-Based Provider Survey, Workforce Survey, Home-based Provider Survey, and Household Survey. Several aspects of each survey are covered, including data collection, survey respondents, topics covered by the survey, levels of observation, and differences across the categories of files for the survey.
Various concepts captured in the NSECE
- Defining Type of Care in the NSECE: This 1.5 hour webinar features Rupa Datta discussing type of care definitions as related to those used in the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) data files, particularly the Household Survey, the Center-Based Provider Survey, and the Home-Based Provider Survey.
- Using Household and Provider Data to Measure Enrollment, Usage in the NSECE: This 15 minute video features NSECE Project Director, A. Rupa Datta, discussing the use of household and provider data to measure enrollment and usage in the NSECE.
- Type of Care in the NSECE: This 22 minute video features NSECE Project Director, A. Rupa Datta, and NSECE Senior Survey Director, Jill Connelly, discussing the various types of care arrangements explored in the NSECE.
- Age of Child in the NSECE: This 8 minute video features NSECE Senior Research Scientist Carolina Milesi discussing how age of child is captured in the NSECE.
- Prices and Cost in the NSECE: This 13 minute video features NSECE Project Director, A. Rupa Datta, discussing the different concepts of price of child care and cost of child care in the NSECE.
- Populating the Calendar File (CAPI Demo): This 18 minute video features NSECE Project Director, A. Rupa Datta, discussing and demonstrating the collection and of calendar data and creation of the calendar file.
- ECE Arrangements in the NSECE: This 1.5 hour webinar features A. Rupa Datta discussing the array of Early Care and Education arrangements that are available within the NSECE Household Survey.
To date, OPRE has published a number of reports that present findings from the NSECE. View these reports and other resources associated with the NSECE study.
The most user-friendly version of the NSECE questionnaires can be found in Chapter 5 of the User's Guides developed for the public-use and restricted-use data files. This chapter provides variable-level documentation within the structure of the questionnaire so that data users can clearly see the relationships across the variables and the instrument used to collect these data. In addition to the questions asked during the survey, this chapter also includes explanations of skip patterns, differences by mode of data collection, and interviewer instructions. To access these guides, click on the link for the Codebook associated with the public-use and restricted-use data files.