In the 2010-11 school year, 3.5 million children were first-time kindergartners in the United States.
Fifty-three percent were white, 24 percent were Hispanic, 13 percent were African-American, 4 percent were Asian, 4 percent were two or more races, 1 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, and less than 0.5 percent were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
Twenty-five percent came from households below the federal poverty level. Eighty-four percent lived in homes where English is the primary language.
That demographic snapshot of American kindergartners was released by the research arm of U.S. Department of Education as "first findings" from an early childhood longitudinal study that will track these kids through Spring 2016 when they should be finishing the 5th grade.
The study—being done by researchers at the National Center for Education Statistics—is one of three that is examining child development, school readiness, and early school experiences. According to NCES, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies (ECLS) program, which started more than a decade ago, and provides national data on early childhood development and education in the United States. The two other studies include a cohort of children born in 2001 and were followed from birth through kindergarten entry, and a cohort of children who entered kindergarten in 1998-99 and were followed through the 8th grade.