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2012 Spotlight

A Closer Look at High School Students in the United States Over the Last 20 Years

High Schools and High School Enrollment

 In 2010-11, there were approximately 14.9 million public school students in grades 9-12 (see indicator 3). Public school enrollment in grades 9-12 increased from 11.3 million in 1990-91 to just over 15 million through 2007-08, but declined through 2010-11. Public school enrollment in grades 9-12 is projected to continue declining through 2012-13. From 2013-14 through 2021-22, enrollment in grades 9-12 is projected to increase from 14.8 million to 15.5 million.

There has been variation in the increase in public high school enrollment by region. Between 1989-90 and 2010-11, the number of public school students in grades 9-12 increased by 14 percent in the Midwest, from 2.9 million to 3.3 million, by 19 percent in the Northeast, from 2.1 million students to 2.5 million, by 35 percent in the South, from 4.0 million to 5.4 million, and by 52 percent in the West, from 2.4 million to 3.7 million.

Of the 12.5 million public high school students in 1995-96, some 67 percent were White, 16 percent were Black, 12 percent were Hispanic, 4 percent were Asian, and 1 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native (see Projections of Education Statistics to 2020, NCES 2011- 026, 5). In 2010-11, public school enrollment in grades 9-12 was 56 percent White, 17 percent Black, 20 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native. By 2019-20, it is projected that public high school enrollment will be 53 percent White, 16 percent Black, 23 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Asian, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native.

There were 1.3 million private school students in grades 9-12 in the United States in 2009-10 (see indicator 5). These students accounted for 8 percent of total high school enrollment in that year. Of these students, 618,000 attended Catholic schools, 411,000 attended other religious schools, and 280,000 attended nonsectarian schools. In 1995-96, there were also 618,000 high school students attending Catholic schools. However, Catholic high school enrollment increased over the next six years to 641,000 in 2001-02, before declining backsome 13 percent of students in grades 9-12 attended private schools, compared to 8 percent of students in the Midwest, 7 percent of students in the South, and 6 percent of students in the West.

In 2009-10, there were 27,500 secondary schools (schools that enrolled students in at least one of the grades between 9 and 12) in the United States (see indicator 12). Of these schools, some 23,300 were traditional public schools, some 1,300 were public charter schools, and 2,800 were private schools. High school students can also attend combined schools, with both elementary and secondary grade spans. In 2009-10, some 25 percent of public schools were secondary schools and 6 percent of public schools were combined schools. In that same year, some 8 percent of private schools were secondary schools and 28 percent were combined schools. In 2009-10, some 75 percent of private secondary schools were Catholic schools (see indicator 5).

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education