Early Childhood Analytics is beginning a series of state snap shots on Head Start demographics and capacity for services using data from the American Community Survey (ACS), Head Start Program Information Reports (PIR) and the National Institute of Early Education Research Year Book (NIEER). These snap shots will show a very basic overview of how publicly available demographic data from various sources can be used to analyze Head Start enrollment and demand for services at the regional, state and service area levels.

Overview

State of Alabama
Estimated number of Head Start eligible children (2013 1-Year ACS) 29,698
Head Start total Funded Enrollment (2013-2014) 14,838
Head Start total Cumulative Enrollment (2013-2014) 16,777
Alabama Pre-K total enrollment est. to date (2014-2015) 7,370

Alabama Head Start programs enrolled and served a total of 16,777 children in Alabama for the 2013-2014 school year based on statewide PIR data from the Head Start Enterprise System. 13,207 of these children were income eligible for Head Start along with another 413 who were categorically eligible for Head Start Services. The remaining 993 were over income eligiblity limits but were enrolled in accordance with Head Start performance standards which allow for otherwise ineligible children to be enrolled under certain circumstances.

Data from the NIEER Year Book shows that the Alabama Pre-Kindergarten program, a state funded preschool program, served 3,897 4 year old children in the 2012-2013 school year. This pre-kindergarten program has no income eligiblity requirements and is free. Prelimary estimates put the number of 4 year olds served in the 2013-2014 school year at about 6% of all age eligible children in the state, or roughly 3,480. In 2014 Alabama expanded it’s Pre-K program to double it’s capacity and cited about 7,370 children enrolled as of December of 2014 for the 2014-2015 school year. With continued funding Alabama expects to nearly double it’s enrollment again by adding 400 classrooms serving 7,200 additional students in 2015.

If we compare the latest data from Head Start and Alabama Pre-Kindergarten, the number of Head Start children and 4 year olds served across both programs is 24,147. Since there are no income eligiblity requirements for the Alabama Pre-K program, it is difficult to directly compare their total enrollment to the total number of Head Start eligible children in the state. Combining the two enrollments still gives a rough idea of the state’s capacity to serve Head Start eligible children and compare it with the number of estimated Head Start eligible children based on Census data.

chart_6 (2)

If the state of Alabama secures expanded funding for it’s Pre-Kindergarten program as expected, the additional 7,200 enrolled children will put the total capacity of services available to Head Start eligible children at close to 30,000. This increased capacity would serve all estimated Head Start eligible children in the state. However, the Alabama Pre-Kindergarten program has no income eligiblity requirements so this capacity is not entirely reserved for Head Start eligible children.

1-Year American Community Survey historic data & the Head Start eligible population

Alabama 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Population 4,708,708 4,785,298 4,802,740 4,822,023 4,833,722
% of Population Under 5 6.70% 6.40% 6.20% 6.30% 6.00%
Estimated Population Under 5 315,483 306,259 297,770 303,787 290,023
0-5 Family Poverty Rate 23.20% 25.50% 26.50% 24.50% 25.60%
Estimated Head Start Eligible 29,277 31,238 31,564 29,771 29,698

A decline in the number of 0-5 year olds has been off set by an increase in the poverty rate from 23.2% in 2009 to 25.6% in 2013. Based on these numbers, the estimated number of Head Start eligible children spiked in Alabama in 2011 at 31,564 but then fell back to 29,698 in 2013.

The poverty rate for families with children under the age of 5 in the US as a whole was 18.3% in 2013. Since at least 2009 the state of Alabama’s 0-5 family poverty rate has been 5 to 7 percentage points higher than the US as a whole.

Alabama: Poverty Rate & Estimated Head Start Eligible Children - from the 1-Year ACS
Alabama: Poverty Rate & Estimated Head Start Eligible Children – from the 1-Year ACS

Historic data from Head Start Program Information Reports, NIEER Yearbooks, and Alabama School Readiness

2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015
Head Start Funded Enrollment** 15,771 15,771 15,785 14,838 N/A
Head Start Cumulative Enrollment** 17,811 17,917 17,857 16,777 N/A
Alabama Pre-K *** 3,870 3,906 3,897 3,480 7370
Early Head Start Funded Enrollment ** 1,530 1,530 1,530 1,482 N/A
Early Head Start Cumulative Enrollment ** 2,047 2,039 2,037 1,939 N/A
** Head Start PIR Data Extract Report – Program Level – All Programs
*** National Institute of Early Education Research Year Book was used for the 2010-2011, 2011-2012 & 2012-2013 school years. The 2013-2014 & 2014-2015 school year figures are approximations based on Alabama School Readiness press releases

Major Metropolitan Areas in Alabama

About 20,000 of the estimated 30,000 Head Start eligible children in Alabama live in one of the 11 biggest metropolitan areas in the state. This could explain the historic gap between the number of children served by Head Start programs (16,777 in the 2013-2014 school year) and the number of estimated Head Start eligible children in the state (29,698 in 2013.) Children and families in rural areas tend to be harder to reach, and the communities that serve them may have less access to qualified staff and infrastructure.

According to the NIEER 2013 Yearbook, Alabama’s Pre-Kindergarten program has services in 97 percent of the state’s counties with a goal of providing services in every county. This has the potential to reach even more rural areas of the state.

Overview of 11 largest metropolitan areas in Alabama

Metropolitan Area Counties Population (2013 5-Year ACS estimate based on Zip Codes in Counties) % of population under the age of 5 Poverty rate for families with children under the age of 5 Estimated Head Start Eligible Population Link to 2012 Data
Birmingham-Hoover Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, Walker 1,043,057 6.53% 20.14% 5,526 Birmingham-Hoover, AL 2012 Data and Map by Zip Code
Huntsville Limestone, Madison 424,023 6.17% 18.68% 2,113 Huntsville, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Mobile Mobile 413,408 6.78% 31.68% 3,741 Mobile, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Montgomery Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Montgomery 379,266 6.59% 29.05% 3,104 Montgomery, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Tuscaloosa Hale, Pickens, Tuscaloosa 237,596 6.01% 20.67% 1,111 Tuscaloosa, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Decatur Lawrence, Morgan 152,754 6.1% 19.29% 733 Decatur, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Dothan Geneva, Henry, Houston 144,735 6.26% 28.16% 1,033 Dothan, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Auburn-Opelika Lee 143,385 6.18% 25.68% 884 Auburn-Opelika, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Florence-Muscle Shoals Colbert, Lauderdale 146,330 5.58% 26.46% 864 Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville Calhoun 126,822 6.02% 28.41% 873 Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Gadsden Etowah 106,909 5.77% 29.45% 766 Gadsden, AL 2012 Data and Live Map by Zip Code
Total   3,318,285     20,748

Further analysis can and should be done to ensure that the number of funded Head Start slots per metropolitan area match up with the estimated number of Head Start eligible children. As an example, below is an image and link to the Jacksonville, AL metropolitan area broken down by Zip Code with 2010-2012 data. Early Childhood Analytics produces these maps and service area overviews for Head Start Programs along with expanded analysis. Contact us for your program’s free 2012 sample report.

Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL 2012 - Head map of distribution of Head Start eligible children
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL 2012 Map and Head Start Report

Alabama Income Categories

The American Community Survey produces economic data on age and ratio to poverty entitled “AGE BY RATIO OF INCOME TO POVERTY LEVEL IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS”. This report has a category for children under the age of 6 and groups these children by their family income as a ratio to federal poverty guidelines. It’s easiest to think of these as income categories that are similar to Head Start income categories such as “Income Eligible,” “100-130% of Poverty Guidelines,” and “Over Income.” The categories provided by the ACS do not match up perfectly, and the data is for all children under the age of 6 as opposed to 3 & 4 year olds. Still, it is a useful data set for identifying how many children are income eligible for Head Start and how many may fall in the category of 100-130% of poverty guidelines. This same data set exists for county, city and Zip Code level geographies and can be included in a report for your program’s service area. Contact us for more information.

Alabama 2013 Income Categories – 2013 1-Year ACS    
Total PopulationUnder 6 Years 350,013  
Under 100% of poverty 110,582 31.59%
100 to 124% 28,717 8.2%
125% to 149% 22,205 6.34%
150% to 199% 35,784 10.22%
200% of poverty & over 152,725 43.63%
Alabama Income Categories for Children under 6 - 2013 1-Year ACS
Alabama Income Categories for Children under 6 – 2013 1-Year ACS

For comparison purposes, here are the enrollment totals for eligiblity categories for all Alabama Head Start programs in the 2013-2014 from state wad PIRs.

Alabama Head Start Eligibility Categories 2013-2014    
Alabama Total Cumulative Enrollment 16777  
Eligibility Category:    
Income Eligible 13207 78.72%
Receipt of Public Assistance 2164 12.90%
Foster Children 65 0.39%
Homeless Children 348 2.07%
Over Income 734 4.38%
Incomebetween 100% and 130% of Poverty 259 1.54%
Alabama 2013-2014 PIR - Head Start Eligiblity Categories
Alabama 2013-2014 PIR – Head Start Eligiblity Categories

Questions or comments? Contact us.

Include a description of your program’s service area or your grant number and Early Childhood Analytics will send you a free report for your service area with 2010-2012 ACS data. An example of such a report for the Jacksonville, AL Metropolitan Area.

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