More than half of the population of 22 states under study are classified as “child care deserts,” according to a report released today by the Center for American Progress (CAP), which also warns that Latinos and Native Americans are the most affected For this lack of services.
The paper looks at the locations of licensed child care providers in 22 states – which cover two-thirds of the US population – and concludes that approximately half of Americans live in “child care deserts”, ie areas With little or no access to quality childcare.
In this regard, the Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native communities are particularly poorly served in child care, with more than 60% of their combined populations living in areas with very low access to regulated child care.
“Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, however, these families are more likely to live in areas with fewer child care options,” the text warns.
Currently, a quarter of all children in the United States are Hispanic, and are projected to make up one-third of the child population by 2050.
“Any structural change in the provision of child care in the United States will need to remedy the fact that child care seems to be increasingly difficult to find in communities with a high concentration of Latinos,” he adds.
Among children under age 3 in low-income families, researchers found significant differences in participation rates in education and early care programs among immigrant and non-immigrant Latino households.
They also found that Hispanic households are more likely to need child care at unusual times, and are more likely to have a grandparent or teenager living in the home.
“These findings suggest that Latino families have diverse needs and preferences for child care, and we should not assume that they do not need or require licensed child care,” warns the CAP report.
On the other hand, the study divides the areas analyzed into three concepts according to the density of the dwellings: urban, semi-urban and rural areas.
With these measures, about 20% of the population is located in the rural environment, 25% in urban areas and 55% in suburban areas, medium density, on the outskirts of cities.
“Overall, rural census areas are most likely to be classified as child care deserts, with 58 percent of rural communities under these circumstances,” the study notes.
“Even with the inclusion of child care providers within the family, there is a large lack of provision of child care infrastructure in rural areas, even though home care is the most common” in those areas.
Faced with these conclusions, the CAP insists that the low supply of child care is directly related to the lower participation of women in the workforce, which in turn impacts on the country’s economy.
The study was based on data from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South, South Dakota and Vermont.
The choice of these states for the analysis, which account for more than 50 percent of the total US population, is because they are those that have public databases on child care.