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National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), 2010-2015

Project Overview

The National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) documented the nation's utilization and availability of early care and education (including school-age care) in 2012, in order to deepen the understanding of the extent to which families' needs and preferences coordinate well with provider's offerings and constraints. The experiences of low-income families were of special interest as they are the focus of a significant component of early care and education/school-age (ECE/SA) public policy. The NSECE collected data from a nationally-representative sample including interviews in all fifty states and Washington, DC. The survey was conducted through a contract with NORC at the University of Chicago, subcontractors Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, Child Trends, Berkeley Policy Associates, and Acumen LLC, and co-pi’s and consultants Lisa Gennetian, Ann Witte, Richard Brandon, Roberta Weber, Lee Kreader, and Deanna Schexnayder.

The NSECE included five survey components and four related questionnaires.

  • A Household Survey conducted with a parent or guardian of a child or children under age 13. Eligible respondents were identified through the Household Screener. The NSECE data include approximately 12,000 interviews with adults in households with children under age 13.
  • A Home-based Provider Survey conducted with two types of respondents. The first type is Formal Home-Based Providers who were identified on state-level administrative lists (of ECE/SA providers) as providing regulated or registered home-based care, with an estimated total of 4,000 interviews. The second type is Informal Home-Based Providers identified through the Household Screener as caring for children under age 13 who are not their own in a home-based setting (and who do not appear on a state-level administrative list), with an estimated total of 2,000 interviews.
  • The Center-based Provider Survey conducted with directors of ECE/SA programs identified from state-level administrative lists such as state licensing lists, Head Start program records, or pre-K rolls. Eligible respondents were identified through the Center-based Provider Screener. The estimated total of Center-based Provider interview is 8,200.
  • The Workforce Provider Survey conducted with classroom-assigned staff members of Center-based providers completing the Center-based Provider interview. After each Center-based Provider interview was completed, one staff member from that organization was sampled and administered the workforce interview. Approximately 5,600 Workforce members were interviewed. In addition, the Home-Based Provider questionnaire collected workforce information on those working in home-based settings.

The NSECE produced a series of reports and papers as well as public- and restricted-use data sets that examine the current state of ECE/SA usage and availability at the local and national levels. The products of this study offer an initial summary of findings, fundamental information about ECE/SA availability and utilization for the government, public and researchers. Reports on the study design can be accessed from the project page for the Design Phase for National Survey of Early Care and Education. Data are archived at the Child and Family Data Archive.

For more information on data collected in 2019, see the National Survey of Early Care and Education 2019 project page.

More Reports on this Project