Descriptive Title: Number of children eligible for child care subsidies but not receiving them by zip code

Geographic Unit of Analysis: Zip code

Unmet need for child care subsidies for 0-12 year olds, 2006
Zipcode Neighborhood Total state and non-state child care subsidies* Children eligible for child care subsidies (<75% SMI) Difference in unmet need for eligible children
  San Francisco 17,821 36,909 19,088
94102 Hayes Valley / Tenderloin 377 1,820 1,443
94103 South of Market 273 1,415 1,142
94104 Financial District 16 53 37
94105 Downtown 13 21 8
94107 Potrero Hill 329 853 524
94108 Chinatown 207 775 568
94109 Russian Hill / Nob Hill 430 1,875 1,445
94110 Inner Mission / Bernal Heights 1,244 5,420 4,176
94111 Embarcadero / Gateway 21 55 34
94112 Outer Mission / Excelsior / Ingleside 1,572 5,165 3,593
94114 Castro / Noe Valley 59 240 181
94115 Western Addition 423 1,610 1,187
94116 Parkside / Forest Hill 287 1,320 1,033
94117 Haight / Western Addition / Fillmore 212 710 498
94118 Inner Richmond / Presidio / Laurel 270 955 685
94121 Outer Richmond / Sea Cliff 307 1,255 948
94122 Sunset 388 1,530 1,142
94123 Marina / Cow Hollow 16 95 79
94124 Bayview / Hunters Point 1,775 5,080 3,305
94127 West Portal / St. Francis Wood 51 390 339
94129 Presidio 15 100 85
94130 Treasure Island 88 102 14
94131 Twin Peaks/Diamond Heights/Glen Park 122 495 373
94132 Stonestown / Lake Merced 209 850 641
94133 North Beach / Telegraph Hill 572 1,310 738
94134 Visitacion Valley 1,250 3,415 2,165
* = For definition of all state and non-state subsidies included in estimate and justification for eligibility definition, please visit 2007 CPAC Child Care Needs Assessment report. As noted in the report, the 75% of State Median Income is an underestimate of childcare subsidy demand given the high cost of living in San Francisco.

Why Is This An Indicator Of Health and Sustainability?

Substantial research demonstrates that accessible high quality childcare positively affects childhood growth, physical development, and physical health, cognitive, behavioral and school outcomes.a,b  The accessibility of childcare for low income earners is dependent on the availability of subsidies. The Urban Institute has calculated that 2.7 million people would be lifted out of poverty if child care assistance were provided to all families with children whose incomes are below 200 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL).c

Interpretation and Geographic Equity Analysis

Zip codes 94124, 94110, 94134, and 94112 have the greatest number of youth 0-12 years old who would be eligible for child care subsidies, but are not currently receiving them. These zip codes roughly correspond to the Mission, Bernal Heights, Outer Mission, Crocker Amazon, Visitacion Valley, Excelsior, and Bayview neighborhoods. The zip codes with the lowest number of children with unmet need for child care subsidies include 94105, 94130, 94111, 94104, 94123, which roughly correspond to Downtown, Treasure Island, Financial District, and Marina Neighborhoods.  However, when the percent eligible children receiving subsidies is examined, zip codes 94127, 94129, 94123, and 94103 (West Portal / St. Francis Wood, Presidio , Marina / Cow Hollow, and South of Market neighborhoods) all have more than 80% of eligible children not receiving subsidies.

Public child care subsidies in California come from a variety of funding sources that originate at federal, state, and local levels.d To qualify for at least one subsidy program, families must have incomes of 75% or less of the state median income (SMI) when they first receive a subsidy. After their reaches 85% of the SMI, families are no longer eligible for public subsidy programs. In 2010, 75% of the California SMI for a family of three was $48,124.44.

According to the San Francisco Child Care Planning and Advisory Council's (CCPAC) 2007 Needs Assessment, "Subsidy programs have a variety of eligibility requirements depending upon their intent. There are two primary types of child care subsidies—those attached to a facility (generally center contractors) and vouchers. Center subsidies are paid at various rates, depending on the subsidy streams. California Department of Education (CDE) center contracts require a variety of deliverables from contracted providers, yet use a Standardized Reimbursement Rate (SRR) that pays far below the Regional Market Rate (RMR). Nonetheless, center contracts often anchor providers in low-income neighborhoods, thus increasing access to care for families in those neighborhoods. Vouchers are flexible in that they allow families to choose care in licensed centers, licensed family child care, and, in most voucher subsidy programs, license-exempt care." (Accessed on September 11, 2009:  Starting in 1999, CCPAC began working to streamline and improve parental access to these various, complicated child care subsidies.  Detailed descriptions of the development and implementation of Centralized Eligibility Lists are available in the 2007 Needs Assessment. 


The number of children in families that earn less than 75% of the State Median Income was obtained by CCPAC in 2006 by contracting with the Census Bureau for a custom run of data for children at 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). 75% of the State Median Income correlates approximately to 250% of the FPL. Census bureau rounding techniques and population growth on Treasure Island resulted in a slight inaccurate calculation of children under 75% SMI for certain zip codes: 94104, 94105, 94107, and 94130. The unmet need calculations for these zip codes have been adjusted to reflect the number of children receiving subsidies.

Child care subsidies were obtained from the CCPAC 2007 needs assessment.


As noted by the CCPAC, “While these numbers can reveal where need for additional subsidies is most pressing, it is certainly an under-reporting of the true need for subsidized care due to the inadequacy of the statewide standard of 75% SMI eligibility ceiling. The 75% SMI does not adequately account for the high cost of living in San Francisco and [there are] thousands of families who need assistance in affording care but have incomes over the 75% SMI ceiling."  For more information about child care subsidy types, availability and eligibility, please read the 2007 Child Care Needs Assessment, available online at: (Accessed on September 11, 2009)

To avoid double-counting subsidized children in half-day programs, half-day preschool subsidies were excluded. Head Start is included. While these numbers are not exact, it is a key adjustment to the total. The numbers are not adjusted for the duplication of children using vouchers and center subsidies.

Data collected by Children's Council of San Francisco and Wu Yee Children's Services include parents who are enrolled in subsidized childcare. Therefore, the information represents service utilization, those who are using care, and not necessarily the demand/need/eligibility for service (numbers may be higher than numbers shown here as enrolled). A thorough parent survey would better inform a planning process for what parents want versus what they are using.

Data Source

San Francisco Child Care Planning and Advisory Council. 2007 Child Care Needs Assessment. Accessed on March 14, 2008:   

Map prepared by City and County of San Francisco, Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section using ArcGIS software.

Map and table data are presented by zip code. Detailed information regarding geographic units of analysis, their definitions, and their boundaries can be found in the SCI at the following links:

  1. Karoly LA. Early Childhood Interventions: Proven Results, Future Promise. RAND Corporation, 2005.
  2. Schweinhart LJ. The High / Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40. The High Scope Press, 2004.
  3. Giannarelli L, Morton J, Wheaton L. Estimating the Anti-Poverty Effects of Changes in Taxes and Benefits with TRIM3. The Urban Institute, 2007.

  4. San Francisco Child Care Planning and Advisory Council. 2007 Child Care Needs Assessment. Accessed on March 14, 2008: