Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
First Things First for Arizona's Children Dedicated Funding Streams Nicotine Tax

Bipartisan support in 2006 created First Things First

Proposition 203 was approved by 53% of voters on November 7, 2006. It creates a state tax on tobacco products and provides program and grant proposal requirements and procedures for award of regional grants. It simultaneously established the First Things First program, a statewide organization that funds early education and health programs. Local regional councils, staffed by community volunteers, decide how funds are spent to support the healthy development and learning of Arizona’s young children.

Learn More/Source: State of Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board
Download This Table

Demographics Link copied!

State population

7,359,197 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

10.7% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

89.3% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children age 0-4

401,856 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty

42% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$78,500.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

4% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

4% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

64% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

29% Source 2021

Download This Chart

Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (5%)
  • Asian (3%)
  • Black or African American (5%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (38%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (.5%)
  • Two or More Races (4%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (38%)
Download This Chart

Political Landscape Link copied!

Source: Ballotpedia 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Public pre-K program name

Quality First Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or targeted pre-K policy

Targeted Pre-K Policy (Birth through 5) Source: NIEER 2023

Download This Chart

Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (2%)
  • 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (7%)
  • Other/none (91%)
Download This Chart

Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (3%)
  • 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (9%)
  • Other/none (88%)
Download This Chart

Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source: CSCCE


  • Child care workers
  • Preschool teachers
  • Preschool or child care center directors
Download This Chart

Funding Sources Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source: First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($212.3)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($196.6)
  • CCDBG State Match ($11.5)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($1300.0)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($14.5)
  • MIECHV ($10.9)
  • IDEA Part C ($14.2)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($8.7)
Download This Chart

Funding acronyms: CCDBG: Child Care and Development Block Grant; CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; CRRSE Act: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations; ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act; CCDF: Child Care and Development Fund; MIECHV: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The COVID Funding Cliff

All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including nearly 100,000 children in Arizona.