More than half of Americans live in child care deserts. This means many children don’t have access to high-quality early childhood programs that could dramatically improve their opportunities for a better future. A majority of voters of all income levels say there is a critical lack of early education programs in their area that are high-quality and affordable. This statistic is tragic when one considers that skills developed in the first five years of life greatly influence success later in life.

Expanding access and options for parents to provide their children a quality, affordable early childhood education has proven benefits for individuals and society in reduced health care costs, increased school achievement and a more educated workforce. 

Consider the Following:

  1. Regardless of income, most voters say there is a lack of affordable, high-quality early childhood education programs in their area.

  2. 86% of children who are eligible for support from some federal programs do not receive it because of a lack of federal funding.

  3. 55% of children in rural areas lack access to high-quality education. In urban and suburban communities, the number drops to 33%, though still alarming.

  4. Approximately half of Americans live in neighborhoods or communities with little or no access to quality child care.

  5. Children of low socioeconomic status often receive lower-quality care and have limited access to programs.

  6. Although access to publicly funded preschool has increased in recent years, only 44% of children aged 4 years and 17% of those aged 3 years enroll in state prekindergarten, Head Start or other programs.

  7. Only 65% of 3- to 5-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood programs in America, below the OECD average of 80% and one of the worst rates among developed economies.

  8. More than 75% of mothers and half of fathers pass up work opportunities, switch jobs or quit their job due to a lack of paid leave or child care.

  9. Early interventions targeted at children from underserved communities have higher returns than costly remediation interventions targeted later in life.

  10. Only 18% of children from low-income families are enrolled in high-quality pre-K.