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Be Informed

Learn why Early Learners are so important and the impact they can have on all South Dakotans.


What you need to know

Downloadable Sheets

Early Learner SD


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The Impact of Quality Child Care


True Cost of Quality Child Care


Why does child care cost so much but providers make so little?


  • Registered family child care homes (maximum of 12 children): 5,340(5)

  • Licensed Group Family Daycare Homes (13-20 children): 948(6)

  • Licensed Day Care Centers (21 or more children): 23,310(6)

  • 17.5% of children in South Dakota, under the age of 5 are to be considered living in poverty.(6)

  • 5,746 children are enrolled in Headstart in SD.(7)

  • $5,661 is the average annual cost of 1 child in child care and $10,465 for 2 children in childcare.(8)

  • South Dakotans pay, on average, 11% of their income to childcare a year with one child and 20% with 2 children in care.(8)

  • 43% of people in SD live in a child care desert. A child care desert is any census tract with more than 50 children under age 5 that contains either no child care providers or so few options that there are more than three times as many children as licensed child care slots.(9)


  • Number of children ages 0-4 in SD in 2018: 62,132(5)

  • 75% of children in South Dakota, ages 6 and under, have both parents in the labor force, which is one of the highest in the United States.(7)

  • 31% of children live in single-parent homes.(2)

  • 18% of children live in 100% poverty.(3)

  • A gap in opportunity becomes a gap in achievement, reinforcing the cycle of poverty.(4)

  • $70,000 is the median family income among households with children in SD.(7)


  • 61% of children ages 3 to 4 are not in school.(2)

  • Children who fall behind in school are more likely to drop out and dropouts are eight times more likely than graduates to end up in prison.(4)

  • Kids from wealthier families start Kindergarten up to two years ahead of low-income children.(4)


  • During the first five years of life, a child’s brain grows faster than it ever will.(4)

  • The return on investment for quality early learning is somewhere between $4 and $13 for every one dollar invested in a young child. This ROI comes in the form of money saved in the health care system, in special education and in prisons.(4)

Bring this to your community!

Want your community to become an Early Learner Community?

Want some more stats?

We would love to speak to you more about why Early Learning is vital.

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