Many families with young children live in what experts have defined as a child care desert, a community with more than three children for every regulated child care slot. This is a follow-up report to the first report on child care desert status of Oregon’s counties as of 2018. As of March 1, 2020 (pre-COVID-19), using the child care desert standard, families with infants and toddlers in every Oregon county still live in a child care desert. The picture is only slightly better for families with preschool-age children; families in 25 of 36 counties live in a child care desert. In addition, higher percentages of preschool slots are publicly funded as compared to infant/toddler slots. The majority of Oregon’s child care supply is parent-funded (tuition and fees); public funding makes up less than a quarter of slots across the state. Nonmetropolitan counties tend to have a higher proportion of public slots compared to metropolitan counties. The current report focused on child care supply – how available child care is in a community. These findings should be considered along with additional information about affordability and quality of child care to better understand the extent to which Oregon’s child care is equitably meeting children and families’ needs. This study provides a starting place for considering the multifaceted issues that shape a family’s access to child care.
Oregon Child Care Research Partnership
251 Hallie Ford Center
Corvallis, Oregon 97331
Telephone: (541) 737-5373
College of Public Health and Human Sciences
160 SW 26th St, Corvallis OR 97331