What does this measure?
The number of children enrolled in public or private prekindergarten education programs, expressed as a percentage of all children age 4.
Why is this important?
Early emphasis on reading and social skills prepares children to succeed later in their education.
How is our county doing?
In 2021, 30% of Essex County 4-year olds were enrolled in a pre-kindergarten education program, lower than the state rate of 37%. This is an 11-point decrease from 2020 and the lowest rate since 2002 when the rate was 36%, most likely due to the COVID pandemic. Between 2020 and 2021, enrollment in private programs increased 1 percentage point while enrollment in public programs decreased 12 points.
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County had a slightly lower participation rate than Middlesex, MA, whose rate was 34%, in 2021. Comparable data were not available for Westchester, NY and Lake, IL.
Notes about the data
Enrollment is based on counts made on Oct. 1 of each year.