The State of Preschool Yearbook 2022

The State of Preschool 2022 annual report covers the 2021-2022 school year and is NIEER’s 20th report tracking preschool enrollment, funding, and policies state-by-state. This report focuses on the recovery since the 2020-2021 school year, where we are compared to before the pandemic, where we’ve come over the last two decades, and what needs to come next.

Across the 44 states, DC, and Guam that funded a preschool program in 2021-2022, 32% of 4-year-olds and 6% of 3-year-olds were enrolled, an increase if 13% from the prior year, but still 8% below the pre-pandemic high. This pattern was seen in nearly every state. States spent $9.51 billion on preschool and also used $393 million in COVID-19 relief funding, without which inflation-adjusted spending would have declined.

A big concern is the preschool workforce where we found unprecedented teacher shortages as well as waivers to education and specialized training requirements resulting in fewer qualified teachers in preschool classrooms. Yet few states provided incentives for teacher retention or recruitment.

Over the last 20 years, preschool enrollment has more than doubled and so has inflation-adjusted spending. Spending per child in 2021-2022 was $6,571, essentially the same as it was 20 years ago after adjusting for inflation. Most children continue to lack access to high quality preschool. Though seven states currently working towards universal preschool offer a glimmer of hope – California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, and New Mexico. Success in these states could dramatically alter the early childhood education (ECE) landscape nationally.

In the report, NIEER calls on states to take stock of their state’s ECE system and calls on the federal government to provide more support to states.


Yearbook Contents

State Profiles

Click a state to view its profile.

US Map

Montana North Dakota Minnesota Washington Oregon California Nevada Idaho Utah Arizona New Mexico Colorado Wyoming South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Tennessee Mississippi Alabama Florida Michigan Indiana Ohio Kentucky Georgia South Carolina North Carolina New York Virginia Pennsylvania West Virginia Maine Maryland District of Columbia Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Massachusetts Rhode Island Vermont New Hampshire_2015 Alaska Hawai'i

State Profiles

Territory Profiles

American Samoa


Commonwealth of The Northern Mariana Islands



Profile News Release



Puerto Rico


Virgin Islands


Survey & Non-Survey Data

Suggested Citation: Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Barnett, W. S., Hodges, K. S., Garver, K. A., Weisenfeld, G., Gardiner, B. A., Jost, T. M. (2023). The State of Preschool 2022: State Preschool Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research.