Our Workforce Data Sets

View a recent presentation on registry data:

Registry Workforce Data 2023

Professional Registries by Reporting Status:

The Nation’s Largest Cross-Sectional Data Set:

Reflecting the Early Learning Workforce


Critical information reflecting the ECE workforce and supporting data-informed decision-making is one of the needle-moving functions professional registries provide the ECE industry. These important longitudinal snapshots contribute to how we conceptualize who is caring for young children and better understand what they most need. While data has always held value in decision-making, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the significance of access to workforce data, at the individual level, for the purposes of stabilizing an industry, as well as the economy, and supporting the ECE workforce sector.

Data-informed mechanisms provided by registries help illustrate who is missing from our workforce picture, can illustrate if what we’re doing is working, and can direct where to prioritize future investments. Policymakers,  research community members, change agents, and funders are looking for current, inclusive workforce information that illuminates how to mitigate staffing shortages, strengthen provider preparedness, and attend to caregiver well-being, while simultaneously taking stock of quality efforts. As it relates to accountability efforts, registry data allows us to better understand how that data changes over time and where support efforts have the greatest impact.

The NWRA’s workforce dataset is a pooled, de-identified data set created in collaboration with state registries. Eligible, recognized registries can contribute workforce data leveraged to make informed decision-making possible. To become eligible to contribute workforce data, registries must complete a self-study, collecting evidence for and demonstrating their commitment to NWRA’s best practices, standards for quality, and data definition alignment.

In 2020, 38 states and DC self-reported they were collecting workforce data. In 2021, 17 registries (45% of those collecting provider data) met NWRA quality criteria for data collection. Of the 16 eligible today, 16 participated in the 2023 workforce data report, contributing data representing over 500,000 members of the direct care workforce in family and center-based care. As we look to future data reports, we believe early childhood professional registries have the capacity to generate a workforce dataset inclusive of upward of 1 million members of our workforce by 2027.

States Collecting Early Learning Workforce Data (2020)

States with high data saturation, dark yellow states can contribute data to the NWRA workforce report (2020)

From 9 eligible states in 2009 to 16 eligible states in 2023.

Our aggregate workforce dataset has grown by over 700% in the past decade, representing over 500,000 child care professionals in 2023.


In 2012, the NWRA developed a set of “Core Data Elements” for Early Childhood and Out-of-school-time registries and the “Partnership Eligibility Review,” which became our quality assurance and registry peer recognition process. The core data elements formed the basis of the Partnership Eligibility Review (PER) process. In 2022, with support from a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and significant reflection, the NWRA began to consider additional levels to a spectrum of registry readiness related to equity, inclusion, and diversity. At that time, new levels of PER were introduced and PER was re-branded to create threshold levels for states to meet  eligibility to contribute their ECE workforce data and partner with national entities. That entry level became known as “Partners in Employment Reporting (PER).” Additional levels are forthcoming, with dedicated efforts and intentionality placed on data quality and additional commitments to equity informing data.

With PER, a regional or state registry undergoes a self-study, collects evidence that they meet standards, and undergoes a peer review process to ensure alignment of core data elements, data verification, and standard operating policies and processes recommended by the NWRA. Successful completion of this application enables a state registry to participate in data-sharing efforts with other national organizations. State registries meeting all the requirements are able to provide other national member organizations with training records from a single source, which are accepted by the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC), for example, in their accreditation process. NWRA member registries meeting PER standards enabled nine states to contribute to the first NWRA Workforce Data Set in 2012. These data were de-identified, pooled, and analyzed with high reliability; providing valuable information to the field.

Annual PER Data Reports occurred in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, and 2023.

Summaries of these analyses are found on our website.

  • 2012: a total of 9 of 9 eligible registries contributed data from 1/1/10-3/1/12. That dataset included individual records from 58,398 professionals; 85% (49,740) of whom were currently employed across 12,050 programs and facilities.
  • 2015: a total of 9of 9 eligible registries contributed data from 1/1/13-1/1/15. That dataset included individual records from 123,680 professionals; 90% (111,082) of whom were currently employed across 22,822 programs and facilities.
  • 2017: a total of 11 of 11 eligible registries contributed data from 1/1/15-3/1/17. That dataset included individual records from 172,870 professionals; 92% (158,386) of whom were currently employed across 28,214 programs and facilities.
  • 2019: a total of 14 of 15 eligible registries contributed data from 1/1/17-3/1/19. That dataset included individual records from 398,986 professionals; 85% (337,551) of whom were currently employed across 63,306 programs and facilities.
  • 2021: a total of 14 of 17 eligible registries contributed data from 1/1/19-1/1/21. That dataset included individual records from 466,115 professionals; 77% (356,206) of whom were currently employed across 64,237 programs and facilities.
  • 2023: a total of 16 of 16 eligible registries contributed data from 1/1/21-1/1/23. That dataset included individual records from 642,130 professionals; 77% (494,275) of whom were currently employed across 79,106 programs and facilitates.
  • 2025 Datapull: We’re working closely with our member states and aiming to have 25 states eligible to participate. That helps us reach our goal of having 50% of registries nationwide contribute data to growing a nationwide early childhood workforce data set.

Currently, there are 10 states with high data saturation who are not contributing to the dataset; those states already require registry participation for childcare licensing in their state. With the addition of those 10 states and enhanced cleaning efforts, over the next five years, the NWRA dataset will represent over 800,000 members of the workforce by 2027.

Early Learning Workforce Data Registries track and report:

  • Demographic

  • Employment

  • Compensation

  • Education/Training

  • Credentials

  • Competencies

  • Career Goals

  • Equity Informing Variables: languages spoken, race, and benefits

2023 and Beyond

Current data does not reflect an additional 9 states who have high saturation due to requirements for registry participation in their state’s childcare licensing, but the registry has not yet completed the self-study, demonstrating they meet NWRA standards for quality to contribute data. This suggests the workforce data reach in the near future could as much as double in reporting. We are aiming for 23 states contributing data in 2023.

“We dream of a national workforce data set that can inform us about what is working, what is needed, and where to prioritize investments, one that provides the infrastructure that enables an ECE workforce census.”

The goal of the National Workforce Registry Alliance is to be the central hub of data collection and dissemination used to inform and strengthen the Early Care and Education Early Childhood and Afterschool Workforce through collaboration with state workforce registry systems and national partners.

Let’s consider what’s possible together, we can’t do alone…

  • Publicly Accessible Registry Workforce Data: State Profiles & Data Dashboards
  • Integrated data systems, where data informs other data (i.e. child care demand, deserts, quality, and child/community data, etc.)
  • APIs with states to the NWRA, making national data pooling easier, faster, accurate
  • More robust research partnerships
  • A true National Workforce Dataset
  • Bi-Directional Workforce Info Exchange (moving learning to and from the field)

How you can help:

Support Development of State Data Dashboards

Look for and leverage the biennial National Dataset composed of registry workforce data from eligible states.

Sponsor a state to help them gain recognition as a Partner in Employment Reporting and contribute their workforce data to the growing national dataset.

Partner with us to produce white papers, articles, and publications to highlight, inform, and strengthen early childhood workforce data collection efforts.


Our Latest Dataset is available soon

Look for the Executive Summary, available Dec 2023, and view all of our reports under our “Resources” tab.

See Data Sets