Access to Early Care and Education for Children in Immigrant Families: Research-to-Policy Resources (Child Care & Early Education Research Connections)


Young children in immigrant families, almost all of whom are U.S. citizens born in this country, are an increasing large group of the nation’s population. In 2015 there were an estimated 5,760,000 children age 5 or younger with at least one immigrant parent, about one-quarter of the total 23 million children of the same age nationally.  This number doubled in the 25 years since the 1990 Census and accounts for all the net growth in the young child population since then.

Based on data from the 2011-2013 American Community Surveys, about 4.7 million children in immigrant families are age 4 or younger, ages when child care and early education services may be sought. Overall, about 43 percent of children ages 3 and 4 from immigrant families are enrolled in early education programs, compared with 47 percent of children from native families, with both figures varying substantially by state.

Research has documented the positive effects of high quality early care and education experiences for young children’s development and learning, especially for children living in poverty.  Overall, children in immigrant families are more likely than children of native parents to face risks to their development and learning, as they are more likely to live in poverty and with parents who have low educational attainment.


Communication/Language Curriculum/Instructional Methods Early Childhood Early Intervention English Learners (ELs) Preschool Social/Emotional