Historically, the early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce has been characterized as a low-education, low-compensation, low-stability workforce. In recent years, considerable investments have been made to correct this, but we lack evidence about the extent to which these investments were accompanied by changes in the characteristics of the workforce. Using nationally representative data, we find that the historical characterization of the ECCE workforce continues to apply. However, we also find that the average educational attainment, compensation, and stability of ECCE workers increased substantially from 1990 to 2010. Surprisingly, the shift in the composition of the ECCE workforce toward more regulated settings and away from home-based settings is not the primary driver of these changes. Contrary to our expectations, gains within the home-based workforce are the primary drivers, though the education and wages of home-based workers remain substantially lower than among formal-care workers.

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