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Young children not in school by poverty status in United States

Young children not in school by poverty status

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Note: Non-consecutive years appear adjacent in the trend line
because one or more years have been deselected.

Definition and Source



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

The federal poverty definition consists of a series of thresholds based on family size and composition. In 2019, a 200% poverty threshold for a family of two adults and two children was $51,853. Poverty status is not determined for people in military barracks, institutional quarters, or for unrelated individuals under age 15 (such as foster children). 

"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. 

Children who are above or below 200 percent of poverty who are not in school only include those for which poverty status is determined. Because of this these two numbers will not sum to the total children 3 to 4 who are not in school.

Data Source

Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2005-09, 2010-14, 2011-15, 2012-16, 2013-2017, 2014-2018, and 2015-2019 five-year American Community Survey.


Updated December 2020.
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 by poverty status.

Last Updated

December 2020