Trends in the Use of Early Care and Education, 1995-2011: Descriptive Analysis of Child Care Arrangements from National Survey Data. Definition of Terms


  • Center-based care and preschool: To be consistent with language used in the original surveys, this report uses the term “preschool” when describing data collected from the CPS and uses the term “center-based care” when describing data from the NHES.
  • Non-center care: For consistency in aggregating, this report uses “non-center care” to include all non-parental care arrangements that are not in a center or preschool setting. This is most often home-based care arrangements with relative and non-relative providers.
  • Infants and toddlers: Children under age three.
  • Preschoolers: Children ages three and four.
  • Poor families: Families with incomes below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (which varies based on family size, and is updated each year). In 2011, the poverty level for a family of four was $23,021.
  • Low-income families: Families with incomes below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. In 2011, this represented $46,042 for a family of four.
  • Higher-income families: Families with incomes above 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

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