Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Have a question about our website? Here are 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 & 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 and Data Releases & Methodology page.

What data is available on IECAM?

Visit our Data Availability page 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 on the Additional Data page or the Data by Topic page.

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

Use IECAM’s online database and choose “Chicago Community Areas” in the region section. For more detailed information, we recommend users visit Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago’s data page.

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.

Where can I find the Community Rankings document?

IECAM no longer hosts this document.

What is a PUMA?

Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) are geographic areas for which the Census Bureau provides selected extracts of raw data from a small sample of census records that are screened to protect confidentiality. These extracts are referred to as public use microdata sample (PUMS) files. PUMAs can be grouped together to match the boundary of a county or a group of counties. While IECAM does not report data by PUMA in its tabular search features, PUMA data is available for some child and family characteristics in other areas of the IECAM website.

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 directly. 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., FY2018) typically appear in the IECAM online database near the end of the following fiscal year (e.g., FY2019). 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 2016 appeared near the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018.