On May 31, 2023, the National Women’s Law Center published a new fact sheet, “The Child Care and Early Learning Workforce Is Underpaid and Women are Paying the Price.” This fact sheet includes data and tables on who comprises the child care workforce, their educational attainment, parental status, and their pay.

Key findings include:

  • Women make up a disproportionate share of the child care and early learning workforce: in 2021, they made up 94% of child care workers and 97% of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten (pre-K/K) teachers, compared to 47% of workers in all sectors.
  • Most child care workers have post-secondary education: Nearly four in 10 child care workers (39%) have some college education or an associate’s degree, and nearly one in five (19%) have a bachelor’s degree or higher education level.
  • And many early childhood education workers—especially pre-K/K teachers—are working to support families: 28% of child care workers and 41% of pre-K/K teachers are parents, compared to 32% of workers in all sectors.
  • More than one in ten child care workers (11%) and pre-K/K teachers (13%) are single parents, compared to 8% of workers in all sectors.

Importantly, the fact sheet highlights that child care and early learning workers—especially women and women of color—consistently face low wages compared to workers in all sectors. Many women of color in the early childhood field, particularly Black women and Latinas, are paid even less than their peers who are white, non-Hispanic women. Wages for single mothers caring for children on their own are even lower.