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Young children not in school, 2008-2012 and 2016-2020 in the United States

Change Indicator

Why This Indicator Matters

High-quality prekindergarten programs for 3- and 4-year-olds can improve school readiness, with the greatest gains accruing to the highest-risk children. Head Start and the expansion of state-funded programs since the 1990s have greatly increased access to preschool. But many children, especially 3-year-olds, continue to be left out, exacerbating socioeconomic differences in educational achievement.

This indicator is included in the KIDS COUNT Child Well-Being Index. Read the KIDS COUNT Data Book to learn more:
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Young children not in school, 2008-2012 and 2016-2020

Data Provided By

Definitions: The share of children ages 3 to 4 not enrolled in school, including nursery school, preschool school or kindergarten, during the previous three months.

"Nursery school" and "preschool" include any group or class of institution providing educational experiences for children during the years preceding kindergarten. Places where instruction is an integral part of the program are included, but private homes that primarily provide custodial care are not included. Children enrolled in programs sponsored by federal, state or local agencies to provide preschool education to young children--including Head Start programs--are considered as enrolled in nursery school or preschool. 

Data Source: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 5-year American Community Survey, 2008-2012 and 2016-2020
These data were derived from ACS table B14003.

Footnotes: Updated July 2022.
S - Estimates suppressed when the confidence interval around the percentage is greater than or equal to 10 percentage points. 
N.A. Data not available.
A 90 percent confidence interval for each estimate can be found at Young children not in school, 2008-2012 and 2016-2020.