When it comes to How many Schools in the US, then it is a number in flux. It is very time-consuming to research and find the exact number of schools in the US.
You might be wondering How many public and private schools are in the US? Or what does the population of students in US schools look like?
Considering these questions, I researched and compiled overall statistics on how many schools are in the US. To get a better picture of these statistics, I have discussed the public and private enrollments, details about the demographics, regional statistics, and comparisons between private and public schools in the US.
Let’s quickly have an accurate picture of the US education system.
Schools In The US: Key General Stats.
- The total number of schools in the US is 130,029 out of which Public schools are 97,568 and private schools are 32, 461.
- Statistics show that most students prefer public schools over private schools.
- Between 1970-71 and 2006-17, the maximum count of public primary schools increased by 4%. (64,000 and 66,800, respectively).
- According to public school enrollment figures, 32 states boosted enrollment between 2000 and 2016. It was estimated that 2019 will have the largest public school enrollments ever. (nces.ed.gov)
- According to an EDI (2021) assessment, the United States ranks fifth in terms of funds allocated per student among the 37-developed nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
- Statistics show that enrollment in public K-12 schools expanded in 32 U.S. states between 2000 and 2016. However, since the pandemic halted schooling, this trend has begun to reverse, with 2019 marking the largest number of public school enrollments (Source: Admissionsly, 2021).
- According to the US Census Bureau, just 11% of the 10.9 million families who earn more than $75,000 that have kids in grades K-12, enroll their children in private schools. This means that the majority of high-income parents send their children to public schools. (Source: US Census Bureau)
- Private schools typically exceed public schools on average ACT scores. Private school graduates had a total combined score of 23.8, whereas public school graduates had an average combined score of 20.7. Overall, the scores on the ACT were similar across all parts. (From the Cape Outlook)
- Between 1996 and 2010, enrollment in primary and secondary schools increased by 6%. According to the NCES, these figures are expected to rise by 7% by 2022. This indicates that enrollment in primary and secondary schools is expected to rise by 13% by 2022.
- Florida, California, New York, Texas, and Illinois are the top five states in terms of public school enrollments, with education districts essentially thriving inside these towns (EDI,2021).
Public Schools In The US
It has been reported that there are 97,568 public schools in the US that include private, public as well as K-12 schools. It is seen that the number of public schools is reduced from 2010 to 2020. In 2008-2010 the number of public schools was 98,817 and in 2019-2020 the number reduced to 97,568.
- The average enrollment for the public school is 528 students per school.
- It is estimated that public school enrollment will increase at a rate of 23.9%.
- The average school size ranges according to location. The average school size in the city is 585 students. Similarly, suburban schools have an average size of 656 students. The rural areas contain an average size of 364 and 443 students in towns (per school).
- The latest reports from the U.S department of education say, there are only 40.1 million students who attended public school in 2020. It is noted that there is a difference of 1.1 million enrollment from 49.2 million in 2019.
- It is estimated that enrollment in public schools would decrease to 47.3 million students by 2030.
Public Primary Schools Statistics
Public primary schools include pre-elementary, elementary, and middle schools. They offer well-structured starting points for their overall improvement.
- The total number in public primary schools that includes kindergarten, elementary and middle schools in the year 2019-2020 is 70,039.
- Enrollment in public primary schools has increased by a rate of 26.9% i.e. reaching 35.5 million students in 2018.
- Out of 35.1 million students from pre-elementary schools have enrolled in public primary schools.
- Out of the total elementary schools in the US, there are 67,408 public elementary schools.
Public Secondary School Statistics
Secondary schools provide a roadmap to start their career by providing them with a sustainable and insightful aspect towards education.
- Secondary schools gained 15,20 million enrollments in the fall of 2020. It is stated that it will increase by 2.32% in the upcoming academic year.
- Public secondary schools cover 91% of all secondary schools.
- Out of 15.55 million secondary schools, there are 23,872 public secondary schools in the US.
- The average enrollment per secondary school is 651 students.
With a large number of public schools in the US, various students come from different backgrounds and ethnicities. According to Admissionsly, minority enrollment in public schools is half as much of white students.
- White students rank in the majority in public schools with 23.7 million enrollments.
- Similarly, 13.9 million Hispanic students are leading the minority in public schools.
- The following is statistical data for demographics in public schools. (Total Number of Public elementary and secondary schools enrollment)
|Ethnicities||Enrollments (in million)|
|Other races||2.16 million|
|American Indian||0.48 million|
|Pacific Islander||0.19 million|
The regional enrollment of public schools varies according to various factors like population, region, and type of school. It is seen that enrollment in the western and southern regions has increasingly grown over the years.
- The Northeast area which has the smallest population has increased enrollment in public schools by 2.45 million.
- Similarly western schools have experienced a 56.3% increase i.e 3.89 million students since 1990.
- Southern regions have reached the most student enrollment of 5.97 million. It has increased by 51.3%.
- Midwest regions have accumulated 3.24 million students. With slow growth, it has experienced only 15% growth since 1990.
Top 10 states with highest enrollments – 2021
The states like California and Florida have the highest enrollments for public elementary and secondary schools. Below are the statistics of the top 10 states with the highest enrollment for 2021.
|Sr. No||State||Primary School Enrollment||Secondary School Enrollment||Total Enrollment for primary and secondary schools.|
Private Schools In The US
Unlike public schools, private schools do not receive funding from the government. But as per the US schools statistics, private schools score higher on the ACT as compared to public schools.
Private schools mostly get funds from tuition fees, donations, and private grants.
- According to EducationData.org, the total number of private schools in the US is 32,461 as of now. Among these 38.8% are catholic. Whereas, Islamic schools show the lowest ranking which is 0.8% of the total private schools. (capenet.org)
- The Catholocism school ratio has decreased since 1992 by 14.2% and Islamic schools have increased by 0.7%.
- Private schools are the most preferred schools in the US. It also includes eight Ivy League institutions and various prestigious schools.
The enrollment data available for private schools is for fall 2020.
- There are 4.7 million pre-elementary students enrolled in private schools. That means 9% of the students opted for private schools.
- According to Statista, the nursery enrollment for Nursey is 1.45 million students in fall 2020 for private schools.
- The kindergarten and elementary schools consist of 4.04 million student enrollment for the year 2020.
- Similarly, 5.06 million students enrolled in secondary and high schools in 2020.
- U.S Census Bureau states that 10.9 million families with children in elementary grade earn more than $75,000 yearly. Among them, 11% of children enrolled in private schools.
- In 2018, private schools enrolled more than 5 million students which is about 10.4% of total schools in the US.
- In 2021, EDI reported that 522,,665 students enrolled at private Catholic secondary schools and 1.110 million students enrolled in private Catholic elementary schools.
- From the total number of student enrollments in private schools, there are 34.9% of the students enrolled in catholic schools.
- 14.8% of the students enrolled in unaffiliated religious private schools.
- The nonsectarian (nonreligious) schools have enrolled 25.7% of students.
- Similarly, 12.4% of students opted for conservative Christian schools, and 12.2% of students enrolled in religiously affiliated schools.
The latest data available for private schools is from 2019-2020. The percentage of Pacific Islander students in private schools is maximum as compared to other races.
- Out of 4.7 million students who enrolled in private schools, 66% were white.
- 12% were Hispanic among the overall students in private schools.
- Only 9% of students enrolled in private schools were black.
- Asian students count for 7% while 5% of them are from other race students.
Below is an ethnicity statistics for private schools in the US. (Primary and secondary schools) (in percentage)
|Ethnicities||Enrollments (in percentage)|
The regional statistics of private schools depend on the income of the parents, the regional area, and also the type of school.
- It is noted that the most enrollment of students in private schools is in city areas.
- The city consists of 43.5% of students who enrolled in private schools which is the highest ratio as compared to the other areas.
- 40.2% of the students enrolled in the suburban areas.
- Rural private schools accumulated 10.4% of student enrollment.
- The private schools in town collect 5.9% of the student enrollment.
Top 10 states with Highest Enrollments In Private Schools- 2016
|Sr. No||State||Number of Private Schools||Primary school Enrollment||Secondary school Enrollment.|
Public Vs Private School Stats
- Comparing the Public and Private schools in the US, more students are likely to be enrolled in public schools than private schools.
- According to Statista, 14.96 million students enrolled in public high schools, and only 1.3 million students opted for private high schools in 2020.
- Private schools have maximum percentages in terms of ethnicity compared to the percentage of public schools.
- The Percentage of Hispanic and black students in private schools was lower than public school students who were Hispanic and Black.
Here is a comparison chart for enrollments in private and public schools in the US for the year 2020. (in a million)
|Type of Institution||Private School Enrollment (in million)||Public School Enrollment (in millions)|
|High schools (college)||3.76||13.92|
Conclusion: How Many Schools In The US (2022)
The US is stepping ahead with the education system, and so do the number of schools. As we see, elementary and primary schools are growing faster as compared to secondary schools.
Over all else, it is essential to keep tracking the educational standards and to provide fair and equal opportunities for all individuals to succeed.
I hope this article has helped you walk through the number of schools in the US and various facts about private and public schools.
Let us know your thoughts on this in the comment section below.
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