Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. EA 1.1 Early Childhood Program Enrollment

01/01/2000

Enrollment in an early childhood program is one indicator of readiness to learn in elementary school that may be especially relevant for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. One of the National Education Goals for the year 2000, adopted by Congress, is that “all children will have access to high-quality and developmentally appropriate preschool programs that help prepare children for school.”1

In 1998, 48 percent of children ages 3 to 4 who had not yet entered kindergarten attended a nursery school program (see Figure EA 1.1.A). This represents a substantial increase from the 30 percent who attended nursery school in 1980.

When a broader set of center-based programs is considered, the increase in early childhood program enrollment is even more substantial. Table EA 1.1 presents the percentage of children, ages 3 and 4, enrolled in day care centers, Head Start programs, preschools, prekindergartens, and other early childhood programs.2 In 1999, 57 percent of all 3- to 4-year-old children were enrolled in a center-based program. This reflects a modest increase from 51 percent in 1991 and 1993 (see Table EA 1.1).

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin.3There are notable differences in center-based early childhood program enrollment rates among racial and ethnic groups; for example, in 1999, only 43 percent of Hispanic children were enrolled in a center-based program, compared with 57 percent of whites and 70 percent of blacks. Throughout the 1990s, black 3- to 4-year-olds have had the highest enrollments in center-based programs, followed closely by whites, with much lower enrollments among Hispanics (see Figure EA 1.1.B).

Differences by Socioeconomic Status. There are substantial differences in center-based enrollment rates by socioeconomic status, including poverty status and maternal education (see Table EA 1.1).

  • In 1999, enrollment rates were much higher among families that were at or above the poverty threshold (60 percent) than those who were below the poverty threshold (50 percent).
  • Enrollment rates also differ by maternal education, with the highest enrollment (72 percent) among children whose mothers were college graduates and the lowest (38 percent) among children whose mothers lacked a high school diploma. These differences by socioeconomic status were apparent for all years reported (see Table EA 1.1).

Differences by Mother’s Employment Status. There are also differences in enrollment rates by maternal employment status (see Figure EA 1.1.C); for example, in 1999, children whose mothers were working either full-time (35 hours or more per week) or part-time (less than 35 hours per week) had substantially higher enrollment rates than children whose mothers were not in the labor force.

 

1 National Education Goals Panel. 1999. The National Education Goals Report: Building a Nation of Learners, 1999 (Goal 1, p. xiv). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
2 Estimates are based on children who have yet to enter kindergarten.
3 Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races.

 

Figure EA 1.1.A Percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds a in the United States enrolled in nurser y school: 1980-1998

a Estimates are based on children who have not yet entered kindergarten.
Note: Data for 1990 and 1994-96 may not be comparable with other years because of changes in survey procedures.
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, October Current Population Surveys. Tabulated by the National Center for Education
Statistics. As published in Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2000, Table ED2.A.

 

Table EA 1.1 Percentage of 3- and 4-year-oldsa in the United States enrolled in center-based programs,b by child and family characteristics: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1999

  1991 1993 1995 1996 1999
Total 51 51 53 53 57
Gender
Male 51 50 52 52 58
Female 52 52 53 53 56
Race and Hispanic originc
White, non-Hispanic 53 52 55 54 57
Black, non-Hispanic 56 56 57 63 70
Hispanic 38 42 34 37 43
Poverty Status
At or above poverty 54 55 58 58 60
Below poverty 42 42 41 41 50
Family structured
Two parents 52 51 53 51 56
One or no parent 47 52 53 56 60
Mother’s educatione
Less than high school 30 31 31 37 38
High school/GED 44 41 45 46 49
Vocational/technical or some college 59 58 55 55 61
College graduate 72 72 73 71 72
Mother’s employment statuse
35 hours or more per week 58 59 58 62 63
Less than 35 hours per week 57 55 60 62 60
Not in labor force 43 43 43 41 50

a Estimates are based on children who have not yet entered kindergarten.
b Center-based programs include day care centers, Head Start programs, preschools, prekindergartens, and other early childhood programs.
c Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
d Parents include any combination of a biological, adoptive, step-, and foster mother and/or father. No parents in the household indicates that the child is living with non-parent guardians (e.g., grandparents).
e Children without mothers in the home are not included in estimates dealing with mother’s education or mother’s employment status. A mother is defined as a biological mother, adoptive mother, stepmother, foster mother, or female guardian (e.g., grandmother) who resides in the home with the child.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1999 National Household Education Survey. As published in Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2000, Table ED2.B.

 

Figure EA 1.1.B Percentage of 3- and 4-year-oldsa in the United States enrolled in center-based programs,b by race and Hispanic origin:c 1980-1999

a Estimates are based on children who have not yet entered kindergarten.
b Center-based programs include day care centers, Head Start programs, preschools, nursery schools, prekindergartens, and other early childhood programs.
c Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 1996 National
Household Education Survey.

 

Figure EA 1.1.C Percentage of 3- and 4-year-oldsa in the United States enrolled in center-based programs,b by poverty status, mother’s education,c and mother’s employment status:c 1999

a Estimates are based on children who have not yet entered kindergarten.
b Center-based programs include day care centers, Head Start programs, preschools, nursery schools, prekindergartens, and other early childhood programs.
c Children without mothers in the home are not included in estimates dealing with mother’s education or mother’s employment status.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 1996 National Household Education Survey.

View full report

Preview
Download

"intro.pdf" (pdf, 633.22Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"PF1.pdf" (pdf, 391.08Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"PF2.pdf" (pdf, 574.76Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"PF3.pdf" (pdf, 554.29Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"ES1.pdf" (pdf, 338.59Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"ES2.pdf" (pdf, 555.35Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"ES3.pdf" (pdf, 582.37Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"ES4.pdf" (pdf, 555.87Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"HC1.pdf" (pdf, 373.14Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"HC2.pdf" (pdf, 725.89Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"HC3.pdf" (pdf, 586.99Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"SD1.pdf" (pdf, 607.16Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"SD2.pdf" (pdf, 628.97Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"SD3.pdf" (pdf, 722.74Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"SD4.pdf" (pdf, 689.79Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"EA1.pdf" (pdf, 429.55Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"EA2.pdf" (pdf, 633.06Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"EA3.pdf" (pdf, 648.96Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Glossary.pdf" (pdf, 291.75Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Biblio.pdf" (pdf, 318.68Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®