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Prices charged in early care and education: Initial findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)


This brief uses data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe prices charged by center- and home-based providers of early care and education (ECE), as well as the incidence of care that is free to all parents. These data come from both the NSECE Center-Based Provider Survey and the NSECE Home-Based Provider Survey; external data sources were used to classify the locations of the sampled providers. This brief describes the maximum price of full-time care, without any subsidies, that providers were charging families in 2012 (when NSECE interviews were carried out). This "market price" for care is the type of data commonly collected in Market Rate Studies required by the Child Care Development Fund. It is related to, but can be quite different from, the cost of care to parents and providers' costs for providing care. The brief also reports the percent of providers, such as Head Start and publicly funded pre-K programs that provide care free to all the families they serve. In addition to providing national information, we examine how prices and availability of free care vary by community characteristics such as poverty and urbanicity. For center-based programs, we also examine variation by receipt of public funding. In the next section of the brief we describe the NSECE and other data sources for this analysis. We then present estimates for the prevalence of care that is free to all parents, and, for those programs that do charge for care, the distribution of prices for center-based programs. Home-based estimates of these two items follow. We conclude the brief with discussion of the presented estimates and suggestions for further research. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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