Last week Wednesday, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report that details the lack of child care services in 22 states. Titled, Mapping America’s Child Care Deserts, the report analyzes the locations of licensed child care providers in 22 states, covering two-thirds of the U.S. population, and finds that approximately half of Americans live in these “child care deserts.” The report borrows a term used to discuss the problem of “food deserts” in parts of the country where people have few options to purchase food. Authors describe child care deserts as areas with little or no access to quality child care.
Key Findings in the report:
- More than half of the population across the 22 states studied—51 percent—live in neighborhoods classified as child care deserts.
- Fifty-eight percent of rural tracts qualify as child care deserts, while only 44 percent of suburban neighborhoods fit the definition. Urban areas where the median family income is below average also have high rates of child care deserts.
- Hispanic/Latino and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities are disproportionately represented in child care deserts, with roughly 60 percent of their combined populations living in areas with a low supply of child care. More than 75 percent of the rural AIAN population lives in a child care desert.
- Child care deserts have, on average, maternal labor force participation rates 3 percentage points lower than communities where there is adequate child care supply. In communities where median family incomes are below the national average, this maternal employment gap is even wider.
The report has an accompanying interactive map that allows users to input their address and see the state of child care proximity in their own community.
The states included in the report are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Vermont.