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Study: Marylanders of Color Likely to Live in Child-Care Deserts

Hispanic and African-American children in Maryland are more likely to live in so-called child care deserts, a new study shows. (Mike Baca)
Hispanic and African-American children in Maryland are more likely to live in so-called child care deserts, a new study shows. (Mike Baca)
October 31, 2016

BALTIMORE – A new study that looks at the country's co-called child care deserts shows Maryland has fewer of them than many other states, but those who do live where there's little or no access to child care tend to be African-American or Hispanic.

The Center for American Progress looked at statistics from eight states to compare the number of children under age five to the number of child care facilities.

Report author Rasheed Malik, a policy analyst for the Center’s Early Childhood Policy Team, says one third of all zip codes in Maryland are considered child care deserts, either because people live too far away from child care centers or because there aren't enough to accommodate all the children who need them.

"White Marylanders were a little less likely to reside in child care deserts, about 3 in 10, whereas 4 in 10 African-American Marylanders and about half of Hispanic or Latino Marylanders lived in child care deserts," he states.

The study also looked at child care deserts in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota. It found rural areas such as those in the Midwest have more child care deserts than other states.

Malik says in the decades to come, children of color will become the majority, yet they're more likely to live in child care deserts, especially Hispanic children.

"This is an opportunity for us to think about our future, future workforce, our future innovators,” he states. “These children deserve the best start we can possibly give them, and high quality child care and early education is one of the safest investments that we can make as a society."

The study says helping families pay for child care may drive the market. If more families can afford to enroll their children, then more facilities will be built.


Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD