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News Releases
Key Finding_PullQuote 2
Key Finding_PullQuote 2
Public Opinion Supports Expanded Investment in Early Childhood (Photo) - 03/07/23

By Rafael Otto, 03.03.2023

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.

Children's Institute: 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 childinst.org.

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 oregonvbc.org.


Marina Merrill, Director of Research and Strategy, Children’s Institute, marina@childinst.org, 503.860.3833

Amaury Vogel, Associate Executive Director, Oregon Values and Belief Center, avogel@oregonvbc.org, 503.734.6748

OVBC Nov 22 Q65-66 Graph
OVBC Nov 22 Q65-66 Graph
Survey of Oregonians: Feeling Safe in Local Natural Areas (Photo) - 02/27/23

Safety in Natural Areas

From November 10–19, 2022, the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center conducted a statewide survey of Oregonians’ values and beliefs including a few questions about Oregonians’ feelings of safety in natural areas. A description of the methodology used for the research is provided below.

The question numbers in this document correspond with the accompanying annotated questionnaire. Due to rounding, the percentages reported below may not add to 100% or compare exactly to the percentages for the same question in the annotated questionnaire or tabs.

Included below for selected questions are noteworthy subgroups variations for BIPOC/white, age, urban/rural, education, gender, and households with and without children. The accompanying set of tabs notes subgroup variations for all the questions.

OVBC surveys currently use aggregated data to analyze the opinions of BIPOC residents in comparison to the opinions of residents who identify as white and not another race. BIPOC residents are not a monolith; the grouping represents a wide diversity of races and ethnicities. The findings included in this memo should not be construed such that all people of color are believed to share the same opinions. Disaggregated race data will be provided when sample sizes permit reliability.

For survey full question wording, all statistically significant subgroup findings, and respondent quotes, readers are encouraged to refer to the accompanying three documents, available to download at the bottom of the page: (1) annotated questionnaire, (2) crosstabulations document, and (3) verbatim written responses spreadsheet (available upon request).

Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (OVBC): This research was completed as a community service by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center. OVBC is an independent and non-partisan organization and an Oregon charitable nonprofit corporation. Representative OVBC projects include opinion research about race-based crimes for the Asian Health and Service Center, as well as research about early childhood education and the cost of childcare for the Children’s Institute.

Safety in Natural Areas

A strong majority of Oregonians feel safe in their local natural areas (Q65-66). (GRAPH ATTACHED)

  • Younger Oregonians feel less safe than older Oregonians in both neighborhood parks and nature preserves.
  • Those with a high school education or less, those 18-29 years old, BIPOC Oregonians, and those with children tend to feel the least safe in natural areas.
  • Oregonians with school-aged children feel less safe in natural areas than folks without children, with one in five feeling unsafe spending time in parks near their house or neighborhood.
  • BIPOC Oregonians feel less safe than their white neighbors in local natural areas, with one in four BIPOC Oregonians feeling unsafe spending time in parks near their house or neighborhood. This might be partially due to BIPOC respondents being younger in age (one in four 18–29-year-olds report the same).
  • Oregonians living in urban areas feel less safe in their neighborhood parks than those living in suburban and rural areas. There is no notable difference in how safe these folks feel in nature preserves.
  • Men feel safer than women in natural areas, however, this distinction is more notable in local parks than in nature preserves, with one in five women feeling unsafe spending time in local parks.

“I generally feel safe, but have balance problems that make it difficult to run or move quickly if needed, so not feeling as safe as in past. Also, the increased number of guns out there makes me very nervous. I never used to consider getting shot, unless it was hunting season, in which case I did not and don't wander off into the woods. Now there are many desperate homeless people camped out, and often drugged out, in remote spots. I no longer feel like wandering in the woods alone.”

Woman, age 75+, Clatsop County, White


“My fear of going to parks and natural areas has little to do with fires. It's more about homelessness and crime.”

Woman, age 55-64, Washington County, race and ethnicity unknown


“Bend’s open spaces are being taken over by the homeless, so I used to feel safe in nature around Bend, but no longer do thanks to the criminal issues that are being ignored.”

Woman, age 65-74, Deschutes County, White


The online survey consisted of 1,554 Oregon residents ages 18+ and took approximately 15 minutes to complete. Respondents were contacted by using professionally maintained online panels. In gathering responses, a variety of quality control measures were employed, including questionnaire pre-testing, validation, and real-time monitoring of responses. To ensure a representative sample, demographic quotas were set, and data weighted by area of the state, gender, age, and education.

Statement of Limitations: Based on a 95% confidence interval, this survey’s margin of error for the full sample ±2.48%. Due to rounding or multiple answer questions, response percentages may not add up to 100%.