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Erin Hardy

Pronouns: She/Her

Senior Research Scientist
Erin conducts national early childhood survey, evaluation, and policy research, including work that is responsive to racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity, disparities, and equity issues.

Erin has over 15 years of experience conducting applied quantitative equity-focused policy research in the areas of early childhood care and education, child health, and K-12 education. Her research focuses on structural drivers of inequality in children’s developmental contexts and access to opportunities, and how to account for these connections in the analysis and development of U.S. social policies. Her work utilizes quantitative and spatial analysis methods and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Erins’ work at NORC focuses on national, state, and local early childhood studies and equity-focused data and analysis projects that seek to harvest reliable, actionable early childhood data and analyses, bringing to bear the full range of NORC’s early childhood research methodologies on pressing issues of equity for children. Erin also provides content and methodological research support to NORC’s National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE).

Prior to joining NORC, Erin was a research fellow at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at Brandeis University. There she served as the early childhood research director for the project—a national indicator and policy research project focused on issues of racial/ethnic equity for children in the U.S. Erin led various equity indicator development and policy research projects and related policy impact activities, mostly focused on early childhood, neighborhood, and educational inequities. She also served as the principal investigator and national data partner for an internal research and evaluation project of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop indicators of child health, education, and early childhood equity in the foundation’s priority communities. Erin served as a co-principal investigator for the Massachusetts Child Care Research Partnership, funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, leading the data development, GIS and spatial methods components of multiple evaluation studies of the state’s child care assistance policies. She served as a Content Advisory Team member for the NSECE  from 2017 to 2021.

Earlier in her career, Erin worked as a fellow for the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University and as a research associate for RTI International conducting evaluation work for a federally funded, community-based family strengthening initiative. She also worked for a half-decade in corporate and public finance investment banking at the start of her career.

Erin has written and contributed to several peer-reviewed publications, reports, and invited presentations including many associated with the project. She has also designed and authored several data visualization tools that tell equity-focused data stories.



Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Wesleyan University, CT

Appointments & Affiliations

Affiliated Scholar

Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, Brandeis University

Alumni Expert

Honors & Awards

Research Team Award | 2018

Heller School, Brandeis University

Research Team Award | 2016

Heller School, Brandeis University

Project Contributions

2024 National Survey of Early Care and Education

Examining early care and education after major disruption


Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services

Support for Analytic Capacity of the NSECE Data

Enhancing the analytic capacity of the NSECE’s public-use and restricted-use data


Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services

Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance Cross-System Evaluation

A first-of-its-kind evaluation to maximize the effectiveness of TTA provided to early childhood grantees


Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services