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Community contexts and utilization of early childhood care and education among Mexican-origin children

Children of Mexican origin are under-enrolled in early childhood education programs relative to Black and White children, which is problematic given the potential benefits of early childhood education. To better understand this under-enrollment in ways that can inform efforts to change it in the future, this study examined how utilization of early care and education programs varied among Mexican-origin families according to the community contexts where they lived. Integrating data on Mexican-origin children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (n = 1100) with community data from the U.S. Census Bureau, logistic regressions revealed that the odds of enrollment in early care and education programs among Mexican-origin children increased as the supply of childcare centers in their counties increased. Holding childcare center supply constant, their enrollment also increased as the percent of co-ethnic Latinos/as in the county increased, especially for children from the least acculturated Mexican-origin families. Overall, these results suggest that ethnic enclaves might link Mexican-origin families to early childhood care and education programs for their children and that this role might be most important for families least likely to be connected to U.S. institutions. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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