Study: Where are America’s, and Colorado’s, Child Care Deserts?

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: September 1, 2017

childcareThe Center for American Progress (CAP) released a new report on the prevalence of child care deserts in 22 states, including Colorado, entitled “Mapping America’s Child Care Deserts.” The report provides a tool that allows users to input their address and see the state of child care proximity in their own community. In addition to policy recommendations, key findings from the analysis include:

  • Fifty-eight percent of rural areas qualify as child care deserts while only 44 percent of suburban neighborhoods fit the definition.
  • Urban areas where the median family income is below average have high rates of child care deserts.
  • Latino and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities are disproportionately represented in child care deserts, with roughly 60 percent of their population living in areas with a low supply of child care. More than 75 percent of the rural AIAN population lives in a child care desert.
  • Child care deserts have, on average, maternal labor force participation rates 3 percent lower than communities where there is adequate child care supply. In communities where median family incomes are below the national average, this maternal employment gap is even wider.

The Children’s Campaign has led efforts over the past several years to increase the accessibility, affordability, and quality of child care. These efforts are paying off, but as this report highlights, we have more work to do. We are looking ahead to the 2018 legislative session with policy proposals in hand to help address some of the challenges highlighted in the report. You can join the conversation about this report on social media with #ChildCareDeserts and you can also read the full report here.

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About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit