Head Start preschool programs provide high-quality early childhood education (ECE) services for children ages three to five and engages families in comprehensive services to support health and well-being. This brief examines geographic access to Head Start by 1) examining the extent to which income-eligible children have a Head Start center near enough to attend, regardless of slot availability, and 2) estimating the potential slots available to those children living near a Head Start.
- Nationally, more than eight in 10 income-eligible children live within five miles of a Head Start center. On average, there are 63 slots available to every 100 income-eligible child living within five miles of a Head Start.
- Eligible children in non-rural areas, areas with larger Black and Hispanic populations, and areas with high poverty live nearer to a center.
- Children living in areas with high Black populations and in areas of high poverty have more slots available to them, while children living in more densely populated areas have fewer available slots compared to children living in rural areas.
- States vary in the geographic proximity of children to a Head Start center and in the available slots for income-eligible children.