Child Care Deserts

This series examines a key barrier to families’ ability to find care for their children: rampant shortages of child care options. Areas where there are too few licensed slots for the number of children who need care are known as child care deserts, and more than half of America’s children—particularly those from low- and middle-income, Hispanic, and rural communities—live in one.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on child care providers and workers’ abilities to sustain providing care, the Center for American Progress will continue to release updated data on child care deserts and their impact on families and communities across the country.

Visit childcaredeserts.org to view an interactive map of the nation's child care deserts.

More than half of the U.S. population lives in a neighborhood classified as a child care desert. (CAP/Chester Hawkins)

In this series

America’s Child Care Deserts in 2018
Report

America’s Child Care Deserts in 2018

A new analysis of child care supply in every U.S. neighborhood finds that approximately half the country has too few licensed child care options.

Rasheed Malik, Katie Hamm, Leila Schochet, 3 More Cristina Novoa, Simon Workman, Steven Jessen-Howard

Mapping America’s Child Care Deserts
Report

Mapping America’s Child Care Deserts

CAP’s geographic study of child care markets finds that approximately half of Americans across 22 states live in areas with an undersupply of child care options.

Rasheed Malik, Katie Hamm

Child Care Deserts
The first years of life are a critical period for child development.
Report

Child Care Deserts

The cost of quality child care is well-documented, but less attention is given to the persistent undersupply of child care centers.

Rasheed Malik, Katie Hamm, Maryam Adamu