Research Series

Latino Families’ Access to Early Care and Education Brief Series

High-quality early care and education (ECE) experiences are critical for children’s development, and evidence shows that Latino1 children—especially those from Spanish-speaking and immigrant households—often benefit more from these opportunities than their peers.i Child care also provides a critical support for families, allowing parents to pursue opportunities for employment and economic mobility

Access to ECE

Access to early care and education means that parents, with reasonable effort and affordability, can enroll their child in an arrangement that supports the child’s development and meets the parents’ needs.

This series draws on nationally representative data from the 2012 and 2019 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)—a set of four integrated, nationally representative surveys that describe the ECE landscape in the United States covering the period following the Great Recession and the period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Drawing from the NSECE, we describe multiple aspects of child care access and utilization for children in low-income Latino families, including the availability, flexibility, and affordability of care, as well as the characteristics of settings and providers who serve Hispanic children.

The publications in this series provide insights and recommendations for policymakers. And more recent publications compare 2019 and 2012 data to better understand changes in the early care and education experience for Latino families with young children.


1 We use “Hispanic” and “Latino” interchangeably throughout this report. The terms are used to reflect the U.S. Census definition to include individuals having origins in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, as well as other “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish” origins.


i Mendez Smith, J., Crosby, D., & Stephens, C. (2021). Equitable access to high-quality early care and education: opportunities to better serve young Hispanic children and their families. In L. Gennetian & M. Tienda (Eds.): Investing in Latino Youth. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS), 696(1), 80–105. Sage.

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