Preschool enrollment continued to inch upward pre-pandemic

The U.S. Census Bureau tracks changes in preschool enrollment between 2005 and 2019, finding that just under half of 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled. Although overall enrollment has fluctuated by just a few percentage points over time, the more consistent trend is the shift toward public preschool, as more states implement their own public programs. In Washington, DC, where universal public preschool was unveiled in 2008, more than 80 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled. Because the data do not cover the pandemic period, the Bureau utilized a separate source to describe national preschool enrollment trends in 2020, finding that enrollment fell from 54 to 40 percent between 2019 and 2020.