Erie Vital Signs

Early Childhood Education: Early Childhood Education – Risk Factor Comparison

Recent Performance

This trend is negative or needs improvement.

In Erie County, the statistical trends suggest that all of these risk factors are a concern for our young children. For the 2012-13 school year, every one of the seven factors registered higher rates of incidence in Erie county than in the state as a whole. The depth of Erie’s challenge is starkly apparent when the county’s indicators are compared with the data for Bucks and Montgomery counties, in suburban Philadelphia, where the risks for young children are among the lowest in the state.

Moreover, four of the seven risk factors increased in Erie in the 2012-13 school year: the percentage of children under five living in economically at risk or high risk families, the percentage of children under five receiving free or reduced price lunches, and the percent of third graders who scored below “proficient” on their PSSA math test. Two of the factors improved a bit: the percent of babies born to teenage mothers, and the percent of third graders who scored below “proficient” on their PSSA reading test.

The Basics

These indicators provide data on the percent of Erie’s children that are exposed to various risk factors that research suggests could hinder their education.

Why It's Important

Several family and community factors can have a negative impact on learning and a child’s chances of succeeding in school, including poverty, low family income, having a young, single parent whose educational attainment is low and poor academic performance in the early grades. Tracking these factors can give an early warning signal for kids who will be in school in a few years.

The Details

While the first five indicators all warn of potential risks to the child’s education, the last two (3rd grade PSSA scores) give some feedback on problems that have actually arisen.


-% of children under 5 below 100% of the federal poverty level--economically high risk families
-% of children under 5 low income (below 300% of the federal poverty level)--economically at risk families
-% of children under 5 receiving free/reduced lunch
-% of children born to young and single mothers
-% of births to mothers with less than a high school degree
-% below proficient in math on the 3rd grade PSSA
-% below proficient in reading on the 3rd grade PSSA

Peer Areas

These indicators include data on Erie, Bucks, and Montgomery Counties, as well as the Pennsylvania Average.




PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Early Learning Keys to Quality Website, Pennsylvania County Reach and Risk Assessment files

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