Resources from the National Survey of Early Care and Education

25 Jan 2016

The National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) is the first study of its kind in over 20 years! Read the latest reports and access study data for your own analysis on Research Connections!

The NSECE provides a national picture of families' out of home care utilization, as well as characteristics of both home-based and center-based providers for children birth through age 13. The NSECE will help deepen the understanding of the extent to which families' needs and preferences coordinate with providers' offerings and constraints.

Funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), the NSECE is a set of four integrated, nationally representative surveys conducted in 2012. The surveys encompassed:
  1. Households with children under 13,
  2. Home-based providers (including included both licensed/registered family child care providers and both paid and unpaid home-based providers who were not licensed),
  3. Center-based providers, and
  4. The center-based provider workforce.
Research Connections' list of resources from the NSECE includes data, publications, and instruments from the survey that will receive continual updates as they become available.


The data files currently available include the Center-based Provider Quick Tabulation File, Workforce Quick Tabulation File, Home-based Unlisted Provider Quick Tabulation File, Home-based Listed Provider Quick Tabulation File, Household Child-level Quick Tabulation File, and Household Quick Tabulation File, as well as the Workforce Public-Use File, Center-based Public-Use File, Home-based Public-Use Data File, Household Calendar Public-Use Data File, and Household Public-Use Data File, all of which of which are publicly available. Additional data will be added beginning in fall 2014 on a rolling release schedule, which will include additional public use files as well as restricted use files. With the release of the data files OPRE anticipates scholars will analyze and publish additional findings from the survey, which will be added to the collection.

Summer Data Workshop

Research Connections sponsored a workshop on the use of NSECE data titled "Digging into the NSECE: Exploiting the Potential of the Household and Provider Data Files from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)" from July 20-23, 2015, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Research Connections produced two webinars on the NSECE study design and data files for those interested in the workshop on May 8 and 18, 2015. A recording of the first webinar, as well as slides--on the study design, sampling approach and size, and plan for the data files--are available. A recording of the second webinar, as well as slides--on key definitions and sample characteristics for each of the four main NSECE data files--are also available.

Self-Study Tutorials

Self-study tutorials covering various aspects of the NSECE are now available on Research Connections:

I. Overall Study Design and Sampling Approach

This tutorial covers the overall study design and sampling approach of the NSECE. This covers the sample sources and the four NSECE surveys at the foundation of the NSECE data collection design. It includes topics such as sample sizes, the use of provider clusters, geographic characteristics available, and the importance of weighting due to the study design.

II. Data Files and Documentation

The data files and documentation are described in detail in this tutorial. 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.

III. Center-Based Provider Survey
IV. Workforce Survey
V. Home-based Provider Survey
VI. Household Survey

The above tutorials will 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 the survey will be covered, including data collection, survey respondents, topics covered by the survey, levels of observation, and differences across the categories of files for the survey.


To date, OPRE has published the following findings from the NSECE:
Future publications will focus on topics such as:
Research Connections will continue to update our collection as new findings become available.

Instruments and Sample Design

The survey questionnaires used to collect data for the NSECE are also available.
There is also an overview of the complex sample design and data collection utilized by the NSECE, which requires the use of sampling weights in analysis. Another methodological report examines how selected predictors of quality can be measured using the NSECE data.

Check back regularly for the latest on the NSECE and other updates to the collection

Prepared by: Daniel Ferguson
Last updated: January 2016