Research Report

Preschool Participation in Fall 2022

Findings from a National Preschool Learning Activities Survey

empty class room

In 2020 preschool participation rates substantially declined. A recent NIEER survey found that the Fall 2022 preschool participation rates had nearly returned to pre-pandemic 2019 levels. The NIEER survey asked parents of young children who were still not in preschool in the Fall of 2022 to report why they did not enroll their children. The top responses included having one parent home (82%), cost and lack of affordable options (41%), and continuing concerns about the pandemic (35%). In NIEER’s Spring 2021 PLA survey, 81 percent of parents of age-eligible children said they would very likely or somewhat likely send their child to a free, universal pre-K program if it became available. In addition, parents with annual incomes below $25,000 more often reported being very likely to participate than those with higher incomes.

The Authors

W. Steven (Steve) Barnett is a Board of Governors Professor and the founder and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. Dr. Barnett’s work primarily focuses on public policies regarding early childhood education, child care, and child development.

Kwanghee Jung, an assistant research professor, brings to NIEER expertise in quantitative data analysis and is working on studies that analyze the effect of participation in state-funded preschool on children’s learning and development.