Press Release: Public Opinion Supports Expanded Investment in Early Childhood

OVBC Key Finding_80% of Oregonian support increases in state funding

by Rafael Otto





Amaury Vogel, Associate Executive Director, Oregon Values and Belief Center, 503.734.6748

Marina Merrill, Director of Research and Strategy, Children’s Institute, 503.860.3833

Public opinion about Oregon’s child care crisis is clear: most people across Oregon want the state and federal government to create solutions and increase investments in child care and preschool.

A recent representative survey of 1,926 residents conducted by the Oregon Values and Belief Center (OVBC) indicates that 80 percent of Oregonians support increases in state funding to support child care needs, regardless of whether they have children.

Amaury Vogel, associate executive director at OVBC, said the data shows strong bipartisan support for child care and early childhood investments broadly. “People can see the impact of the child care crisis in their own lives and for others in their community. And they are looking for solutions that include public investment to strengthen infrastructure, increase wages and benefits, make care more accessible, decrease the cost of care, and create more equitable early childhood opportunities.”

More Key Findings

  • 60 percent of Oregonians spend 20 percent of the monthly income on child care.
  • 54 percent of Oregon employers say that access to child care impacts their ability to hire and/or retain employees.
  • 80 percent of Oregonians think it is important to increase spending on early learning opportunities.
  • 77 percent of Oregonians think it is important to increase spending on infrastructure for more child care centers.

Today, less than one third of children age 0-5 have access to regulated child care facilities. Nearly 75 percent of communities in Oregon are child care deserts.

2023 Advocacy

“When we listen to economic updates, the re-occurring theme tends to be that we need more affordable housing, and we need child care,” said Kali Thorne Ladd, chief executive officer at Children’s Institute. “But the conversation too often ends there, and we don’t thread the two together. Thriving communities requires that we do so. This is what economic development looks like at its finest.”

Children’s Institute is currently trying to bring this to fruition by advocating for the passage of HB 3005, which would create an early learning and care facilities fund to build infrastructure for early childhood across the state. Two additional bills would strengthen the state’s facilities infrastructure from a policy perspective: SB 599 creates protections for child care providers operating in rental homes; HB 2727 initiates a review of zoning, land use, and building core requirements and makes recommendations that would facilitate and incentivize the construction of new child care facilities.


“The cost of child care is a huge barrier for all families but particularly lower income families. The cost of care often outpaces the income generated by the employed person. This ties the lower income parent, generally the woman, to the home and inhibits professional development that would provide gateways to higher income jobs.”
OVBC Survey Respondent


Children’s Institute’s mission is to shift systems toward justice for families so that all children in Oregon, prenatal to grade five, have access to opportunity. Children’s Institute advocates for and secures public investments in early childhood programs and services, and works directly with school communities to improve the learning experience for children. Learn more at

The mission of the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center is to provide accurate, inclusive opinion research to help Oregonians working to build stronger communities. OVBC’s research is ongoing; independent and nonpartisan; representative of rural Oregon and communities of color; valid and statistically reliable; and quantitative and qualitative. Learn more at




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