Quick Guide to Getting Community Needs Data

Finding all the early childhood data needed for grant applications, presentations, or meetings can be intimidating. For this reason, IECAM has put together this three-step guide on how to gather the data and information you need to describe your community’s early childhood landscape and needs.

Step 1: Get Program Data

Use IECAM’s online database to get the most recent capacity and/or funded enrollment data for your selected early childhood services and programs. This data is available on a variety of different regional levels.

Data from previous years can also be found using the database search.

Step 2: Get Population and Poverty Data

Use our online database to get data on the overall population of children and the number of children by various poverty levels in your area (instructions here). Birth rate data can be found here.

Make sure to get data for all the geographic regions represented in your service area. These may include counties, municipalities, zip codes/ZCTAs, unit school districts, elementary school districts, townships, state and/or federal legislative districts, and ISBE and/or IDHS regions. You may need to complete separate searches for different types of geographic regions (counties, municipalities, school districts, etc.) to get a full picture of your community or service area.

Step 3: Get Additional Demographic Data

You can use our online database to get more demographic data on race/ethnicity, limited English-speaking households, and children in working families.

You can also use additional demographic data to supplement descriptions of your area.

Optional Step

You can call and/or meet with your local early childhood partners (e.g., Head Start, PFA, PI, child care providers) to help you describe the current landscape of early care and education in your area not covered by IECAM data, such as current enrollment numbers.

You can also call and/or meet with your community partners that support and contribute to child and family well-being, including physical and mental health services, housing providers, and homeless shelters, to help you describe actual or potential collaborations to better serve children in your area.

For more, visit our Collaboration Resources page.


If you need more assistance, just ask! You may also call 877-275-3227 or email us at iecam@illinois.edu. We are more than happy to help.