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Now attending Head Start

Codes and Frequencies

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HEADSTARNOW identifies children age 6 and under who were currently attending Head Start. Head Start is a federally-funded program designed to increase the school-readiness of children in low-income families.

Initiated as a pilot project in 1965, the Head Start program is now locally administered by community-based non-profit organizations and school systems and is funded by grants awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services. In recent years (1999 forward), approximately 90 percent of the children enrolled in Head Start were age 3 or age 4, with approximately 5 percent of enrollees age 5 and over and a comparable fraction under 3 years of age. On its website, the Office of Head Start reported, in 2006, "Head Start grantee and delegate agencies provide a range of individualized services in the areas of education and early childhood development; medical, dental, and mental health; nutrition; and parent involvement."

For children not currently attending Head Start, or whose Head Start attendance was unknown, HEADSTAREV identifies those who ever attended Head Start.


This variable is comparable over time.


  • 1997-2018: Persons age 6 and younger.


  • 1997-2018