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COVID-19, early care and education, and child development

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Despite the many reports of how hard the ECE sector was hit by the pandemic, we do not know how the pandemic has affected ECE enrollment on a large scale. At the time of writing, 2020 versions of the large-scale microdata that have historically informed our understanding of ECE enrollment has not yet been released to the public. These data include not just the October CPS, but also the ACS. To explore patterns of ECE participation during the pandemic, I instead rely on a recently released database giving changes in visits to ECE providers by month, relative to the same month in 2019, since January 2020 (Lee and Parolin, 2021a). While the database does not provide changes in visits to individual, geolocated providers, it comes close by providing statistics on changes in visits to small sets of providers within census tracts. Given differences in the demographics of these small geographic areas, I can therefore estimate group differences in exposure to changes in visits to ECE providers, similarly to how I estimated group differences in levels of exposure to ECE providers in January 2020 in Figure 2. (author abstract)

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Reports & Papers
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United States

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