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Child Care:  Notes & Sources


Center-based child care generally refers to licensed care provided in a non-residential setting.

Confidence Interval (also known as error bar) is therange of values that includes the true value 95% of the time. If the confidence intervals of two groups do not overlap, the difference between groups is considered statistically significant (meaning that chance or random variation is unlikely to explain the difference).   

Family child care (licensed or unlicensed)is typically provided in the caregiver’s home. 

King County regions: The geographic boundaries of the four King County sub-regions (North, Seattle, East, and South) are defined by the aggregation of ZIP codes.

Race/Ethnicity: Federal standards mandate that race and ethnicity (Hispanic origin) are distinct concepts requiring 2 separate questions when collecting data from an individual. "Hispanic origin" is meant to capture the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of an individual (or his/her parents) before arriving in the United States. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race. Communities Count's terms for racial/ethnic groups are derived from those used by the U.S Census Bureau in 2010.

  • Communities Count terms:  Hispanic, Non-Hispanic, White Non-Hispanic, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI), White, and Multiple Race (Multiple). Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race and are included in other racial categories. Racial/ethnic groups are sometimes combined when sample sizes are too small for valid statistical comparisons of more discrete groups. 
  • 2010 Census terms: Hispanic or Latino, Not Hispanic or Latino, White alone (Not Hispanic or Latino),  Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White, Some Other Race, and Two or More Races.

Statistical Significance: Unless otherwise noted, any difference mentioned in the text is statistically significant (unlikely to have occurred by chance).

Too few cases to report:  Survey data with 20 or fewer responses are not reported.


Median monthly costs of care in King County (2010), Child Care Center vs. Family Child Care

  • Infant (birth to 1 year): $1,259 vs. $868
  • Toddler (1 to 2.5 years): $1,062 vs. $802
  • Preschooler (2.5 to 5 years): $919 vs. $672
  • School-age (6-14 years): $464 vs. $325

Median monthly costs of center care by age of child, region (2012)

Median monthly costs of family child care by age of child, region

Subsidies:  In 2011, 98% of all subsidized slots in King County licensed child care centers and family child care were supported totally or in part by the State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). 

Data Sources

King County data on child care for children birth-5 years and 6-14 years are from the Communities Count Survey, 2011.  Respondents came from a random sample of all King County households, and were asked about child care arrangements for each child birth-to-5 years and 6-to-14 years.  Due to the limitations of surveys that rely exclusively on landline telephones, Communities Count used a mixed-mode survey involving both random-digit-dial phone contact and address-based sampling for mailed questionnaires, with an internet response option as well. Phone interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, and, upon request, additional languages. Numbers of children age birth to 5 by region were calculated from Census 2010 SF1 data, Table QT-P2.

Data on child care costs come from:

Data on child care subsidies come from Technical Report 10-054; WA State 2010 Child Care Survey; Child Care Rate & Resources in WA, 2010. ( careInWashingtonState_2010.pdf)  and Washington State Child Care Resource and Referral Network’s report “Child Care in King County”, released in 2011

Other Sources

For national data on child care arrangements for children of employed mothers: See Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements, Spring 2010, (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011, NACCRRA,; detailed tables at Retrieved 7/30/2012.

Maps of King County covering a wide range of topics can be accessed at  Maps most immediately relevant to Communities Count are under the headings of Community data & demographics, Public health, and Environment & natural resources, but other maps should be useful as well (farmers markets, transit routes, walking and biking routes, parks, traffic counts, etc.).

Quotes:  Communities Count interviewed 32 King County families across a broad range of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity. We reached out to communities of color, recent immigrants, and residents with limited English proficiency. We interviewed both families with very low household income and those who earned up to median income (about $68,000 for a family of four in 2010). Family structures include single-parent households, couples living in consensual unions, married couples, and extended families. We also interviewed social service providers from agencies such as Crisis Clinic, Hopelink, Multi Service Center, and Child Care Resources, as well as staff from community colleges that offer worker retraining or similar programs to help King County residents find jobs. We use fictional names to ensure confidentiality.