University of Illinois Urbana‑Champaign


Answers to some of the most common questions we encounter at IECAM

What is an asset map?

An asset map provides an inventory of the resources of a community to help identify strengths and challenges. Asset maps help stakeholders design and coordinate approaches to address their area’s unique needs.

What are IECAM's data sources?

Data on IECAM come from a variety of sources including state agencies such as the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education as well as the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and IPUMS USA. In short, IECAM brings together early childhood and related demographic data collected by other agencies.

Data sources can be found on the specific topics pages, under maps, in the “notes” sections of select spreadsheets, and on our data description pages.

What data is available on IECAM?

Visit Data Availability for listings of available data by year and geographic region.

I have noticed that some characteristics are not found in the online database search. What additional types of data are available?

IECAM presents some data outside the online database. This data can be found at Curated Data, Maps, and Charts or searching Data by Topic.

Do geographic regions change over time?

Yes! While state and county borders do not change, every year there are a number of municipalities, townships, and school districts that are created, eliminated, merged, or split, or that change their name. And every 10 years, the district maps change for the state legislature and U.S. Congress.

In the online database, search results present data for whatever areas exist, and only the areas that exist, in a selected year. Therefore, if you’re searching by municipality for 2020 and a municipality was incorporated only in 2021, you will not find that municipality in the 2020 data search. 

Where can I find data on Chicago's early care and education programs?

Use IECAM’s online database and choose “Chicago Community Areas” or choose "Chicago" under municipality in the region section. For more detailed information, we recommend checking out Chicago Community Area Profiles from Illinois Action for Children and the new Chicago Early Childhood Integrated Data System (CECIDS), set to launch in summer 2022. 

Are the different sections of the database search results for poverty cumulative? Or, does each figure represent a unique set?

The poverty data is cumulative. The column headings read 0–100% Federal Poverty Level (FPL), 0–200% Federal Poverty Level (FPL), etc.

Does IECAM provide funding information for early care and education services in Illinois?

At present, IECAM does not include funding amounts for early care and education services in Illinois. For more information on Head Start funding, please visit the Region 5 Office for the Administration for Children and Families or the Illinois Head Start Association. For information on ISBE funding (PFA, PFAE, PI), please contact ISBE. For funding information related to child care, contact IDHS Child Care Division.

Why doesn't IECAM have data for the current year?

The data for a given fiscal year (FY) are received from the agency involved with the service in question sometime during the following fiscal year. Thus, data on early care and education services for a given fiscal year (e.g., FY2019) typically appear in the IECAM online database near the end of the following fiscal year (e.g., FY2020). For demographic data, the Census Bureau releases its final and complete data for a given year between one and two years (depending on the geographic region) after the target year. For example, demographic data for 2019 appeared near the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021.