map of united states showing high levels of support for afterschool programs


Just in time for Lights On Afterschoolthe only national rally celebrating afterschool, a new national poll is out that shows strong public support for afterschool. Nearly 9 in 10 adults (89 percent) agree that afterschool programs are important to their community, with bipartisan and nationwide support for afterschool programs cutting across party lines as well as geographic regions. Among Democrats, 94 percent agree that afterschool is important to their community, and among Republicans, 86 percent agree. Support is highest in the West at 92 percent, followed by the Midwest and Northeast (90 percent), and the South (87 percent).

Broad support for afterschool funding

Additionally, the poll reveals continued widespread support for public investment in the afterschool field, with 2 in 3 adults saying that they want their federal, state, and local leaders to provide funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. Public support for investment in afterschool becomes more evident when presented with the possibility of the elimination of funds for programs. The survey found that 7 in 10 adults are opposed to eliminating federal funds for afterschool programs, with more than half of adults in strong opposition (52 percent).

When asked about the effect an elected official’s support for public funding for afterschool and summer learning programs would have on their vote, 59 percent of adults say that they are more likely to vote for an individual who supported funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. Among parents, this number jumps 8 percentage points to 67 percent.

Findings match earlier studies

The poll echoes findings from a National Recreation and Park Association survey released earlier this month. In it, 93 percent of Americans agreed that “increasing the availability of affordable out-of-school time programs at local parks, recreation centers and libraries to families of all income levels should be a goal of their local government.” From baby boomers to millennials, agreement that availability of out-of-school time programs should be a local government priority was above 90 percent (millennials- 97 percent, baby boomers- 92 percent).

As the Afterschool Alliance and more than 8,000 communities across the U.S. gear up to celebrate the 19th annual Lights On Afterschooltaking place this Thursday, Oct. 25, this poll affirms the important role that afterschool plays for children, families, and communities. If you are an afterschool or summer learning program, find easy tips on how to plan an event and highlight the poll findings in your media outreach. Interested in attending an event? We have a map to help you find a Lights On Afterschool event near you. We hope that you can join us, show off your support for afterschool in America, and shine a light on the afterschool programs in your community!

The poll, sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted in partnership with Lake Research Partners, The Tarrance Group, and Ipsos, was conducted in September 2018. To learn more, you can check out the fact sheettopline questionnaire, and news release.

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