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Child Care Ratio by State 2023

Studies have shown that programs with low child-to-staff ratios and smaller classroom sizes have a positive impact on the quality of education and experiences that students have in those programs.

Among the benefits of small child-to-staff ratios are: each student can receive more one-on-one learning and attention; research has shown that high school students in smaller classes have higher grades and perform better on university entrance exams; classes can progress through coursework quicker, meaning students can learn faster; teachers have more opportunities to observe and assess the class and can make any adjustments to improve their teaching; students have more opportunities to participate and will feel less shy about speaking in class; coursework can be adapted to fit the needs of the students, and students can receive more individualized feedback from their instructor(s).

All states that license child care centers have requirements for child-to-staff ratios for different age groups and group sizes. For this page and the numbers presented, a “licensed” program is required to have permission from the state to operate and must meet specified child care center standards. These standards include the number of children one adult can care for at a time, the supervision of children, safety regulations of the building (emergency exits, cleanliness, etc.), disease-preventing measures, nutrition of available food, and training and health requirements for the staff working in the facilities. These vary from state to state. Some states have county or city licensing requirements, which may supersede state requirements.

Eleven states do not regulate group size for any age group. These states still have child-staff ratios. These states are:

Idaho child care centers are not licensed by the state.

Ten states have one or more age groups excluded from the group size requirements:

In general, the younger age groups, specifically six weeks and nine months, have the lowest child-staff ratios in every state due to the extra attention and care that infants require. The highest child-staff ratios can be seen in the 10 years and older group, which goes as high as 26:1 in Texas. Below is a table of each state’s child-staff ratio requirements by age group. Idaho has been excluded.

Child Care Ratio by State 2023

Child Care Ratio by State 2023