Begun in 1962, this study showed that by age 40, those enrolled at age three or four in this high-quality early learning program were more likely to have high school diplomas, jobs and higher earnings than their peers. The study also found that participants committed fewer crimes than those who never enrolled in the program.
The study followed 123 high-risk three- and four-year-olds in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Nearly 60 children were randomly assigned to a high-quality early care and education program; the rest received no preschool. All were tracked until age 40. In 2003, a report by Arthur Rolnick and Arthur Reynolds of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis called "Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return" analyzed the data from the Perry Preschool Project and concluded a 16% Estimated Real Internal Rate of Return for every dollar invested.