Early Childhood2021-02-24T20:25:42+00:00

Equity for young people at
every step starts from

Early Childhood.

Featured Findings
Birth Outcomes

For both babies and parents, birth outcomes are worse for DC’s Black and Latinx residents.

  • Twelve Black babies died in their first year out of every 1,000 live births, as did roughly four Latinx babies out of every 1,000 live births.
  • Between 2013 and 2017, there were 20 deaths due to complications related to pregnancy. 19 of those who died were Black and one was Latinx.

First Trimester DC Prenatal Care by Race

Race & Equity

Children Under 5 Living in Poverty







Healthy Development

While the population of young children is growing faster than other age groups, early childhood access to health supports is declining.

  • DC’s population of children under 3 increased 20% from 22,366 in 2013’s five-year-average to 26,734 in 2018. In 2019, 1 of the 5 DC children in foster care (119) was under 3.
  • 73% of the DC residents receiving WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) recipients are Black and 25% are Latinx. WIC participation has been down in recent years (46% in 2017 from 62% in 2012) and there’s concern that lingering fear and confusion after the Trump administration’s ‘Public Charge’ rule may deter more families despite that change now being overturned.
  • Vaccine coverage of kindergarten students is also declining. Percent of DC public school kindergarteners that had been vaccinated for DTAP/DT has declined from 92% to 80% and MMR has declined from 92% to 81%.
  • Home visiting is a way of delivering prevention and early intervention services for expecting parents and families of young children. In 2019 DC had capacity to serve roughly 1,347 children and families in these programs.

WIC Enrollment

Impacts of COVID-19

Two-thirds of early learning programs reopened by the end of November 2020, but DC families are not re-enrolling children at pre-COVID rates: fewer than one-third of programs reported being fully enrolled.

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Early Care & Education

Early care and education subsidies only reach roughly half of families who need it.

  • There are 2.4 infants and toddlers living in DC for each licensed early learning slot (11,257). In communities with the highest child poverty (wards 1, 7, and 8) child care supply trails potential demand, while in areas with much lower child poverty (wards 2 and 3) supply is much closer to matching potential demand.
  • 5,173 infants and toddlers received child care subsidies. But DC needs almost 5,000 more seats to have one for every infant and toddler predicted to be eligible for a child care subsidy by 2023, and would need more than 15,000 more seats to have one for every infant and toddler predicted to be in the District.

DC Potential Demand for Each Licensed ECE Learning Slot

Real Stories

Because of the lack of government support, the burden of helping families get back on their feet is financially falling on me. I have a big heart but this shouldn’t fall on me.

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Find more information about all the early childhood measures in our data references section