Who's in Head Start? Estimating Head Start Enrollment with ACS, CPS, and SIPP

Lynda L. Laughlin, U.S. Census Bureau
Jessica W. Davis, U.S. Census Bureau

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) directly asks parents if their children are enrolled in a Head Start program, but the SIPP consistently undercounts the number of children in Head Start when compared to administrative records. This study builds off of previous work that attempts to model the number of children enrolled in Head Start using the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS). We address and resolve a number of technical and methodical issues: 1) determining Head Start enrollment using proxy measures for eligibility, 2) comparing estimates and determining which survey best estimates Head Start enrollment using proxy measures, 3) determining if there are geographic variations between estimated Head Start enrollment and administrative data, and 4) making recommendations about which survey source comes closest to administrative data counts and providing suggestions about the collection of Head Start and general child care data.

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Presented in Poster Session 1