The number of children enrolled in public or private prekindergarten education programs, expressed as a percentage of all children age 4.
Early emphasis on reading and social skills prepares children to succeed later in their education.
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.
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.
Enrollment is based on counts made on Oct. 1 of each year.