Enrollment in Private Schools Drops in Last Decade

A recent U.S. Census Bureau report documents a drop in private school enrollment in the U.S. during the first decade of this century.

The decline is seen both in actual numbers and in the proportion of students enrolled in private schools, according to the report titled “The Decline in Private School Enrollment,” a “working paper” of the Census Bureau. The January report was written by Stephanie Ewert with the bureau’s Social, Economic & Housing Statistics Division.

Ewert examined three measurements of enrollment: The Private School Survey, a yearly report released by the U.S. Department of Education; and the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey, both of which are conducted by the Census Bureau. The American Community Survey wasn’t fully implemented until 2005.

“The decline in private school enrollment occurred at all school levels but was concentrated among schools that were larger, religiously affiliated, and not located in rural areas,” the report says. “The data do not support the explanation that the economic recession started the decline in private school enrollment. However, there is some evidence that growth in the charter school movement has contributed to the decline in private school enrollment.”

To read the report, click here.