Growth and Impact in Early Care and Learning

What does the early learning landscape look like in your state?

How does your state compare with other states on critical early indicators?


Policy makers must consult multiple sources to find current information on key issues influencing early care and learning, like access, affordability, quality, and funding. With support from Blue Meridian Partners, The Hunt Institute developed a one-stop scale for policy makers to measure growth and impact on 20 key indicators across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The goal of the scale is to provide current snapshots of states’ early care and learning landscapes for children under five years of age, to inform initiatives supporting young children, their families, and the economy.


High quality, affordable, accessible early care and learning opportunities are essential for children, families, and the economy. The Hunt Institute conducted a scan of published data on key indicators from 2023. We consolidated the most compelling indicators under four main categories: Access, Affordability, Quality, and Funding. Workforce, a foundational category, is threaded through the analysis to illustrate its critical importance.

Click here to read the explainer.


The Scale

We developed a four-point scale to help states assess their strengths and areas for improvement. We liken states’ early efforts to planting a seed and nurturing its growth into a robust plant, much like we need to nurture our youngest children and support their all-round development. The four-point scale spans 1. Emerging, 2. Evolving, 3. Expanding, and 4. Excelling.

Click here to view a description of the scale.



Scoring Guide

The scoring guide provides descriptions for each of the 20 indicators as well as comparisons, and shows how each indicator is gradated on the four-point scale. It includes links to sources for all indicators and comparisons.

Click here for the scoring guide.







Find Your State Snapshot

Click on your state below to view the snapshot.