Between 1990 and 2010, the percentage of public school students who were White decreased from 67 to 54 percent, and the percentage of those who were Hispanic increased from 12 percent (5.1 million students) to 23 percent (12.1 million students).
From 1990 through 2010, the number of White students in U.S. public schools decreased from 29.0 million to 27.7 million, and their share of enrollment decreased from 67 to 54 percent (see table A-6-1). In contrast, Hispanic enrollment during this period increased from 5.1 to 12.1 million students, and the percentage of public school students who were Hispanic increased from 12 to 23 percent. While the total number of Black students fluctuated, their share of enrollment decreased from 17 to 15 percent during this time. In 2002, the percentage of public school students who were Hispanic surpassed the percentage who were Black and has remained higher than the Black share of enrollment in each year through 2010.
Between 1990 and 2010, overall enrollment fluctuated in the Northeast and Midwest (see table A-6-2). Enrollment increased from 15.1 to 19.6 million in the South and from 9.4 to 12.8 million in the West.
The change in racial/ethnic distribution of public school enrollment differed by region from 1990 to 2010 (see table A-6-3). The number and percentage enrollment of White students decreased in all regions, with the exception of the South, where enrollment of Whites fluctuated and percentage enrollment decreased during this period. The number of Black students fluctuated in all four regions and the percentage of Black students fluctuated in the Northeast and Midwest, while decreasing in the West and South. The number of Hispanic students increased in all four regions as did their share of enrollment. The number and percentage enrollment of Asian students increased in all regions in which data were reported except in the West, where enrollment, in terms of number and percentage, fluctuated during this time period. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native students each represented l percent or less of student enrollment in all regions of the United States in 2010. Students of two or more races made up 4 percent of enrollment in the West, 3 percent in the Midwest, and 2 percent each in the Northeast and South.
In 2010, White students made up 50 percent or less of school enrollment in 12 states and the District of Columbia (see table A-6-4). Black students had the largest share of public school enrollment in Mississippi and the District of Columbia. Hispanic students had the largest share of public school enrollment in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. Of all the jurisdictions, the District of Columbia enrolled the highest percentage of Black students (77 percent), New Mexico enrolled the highest percentage of Hispanic students (59 percent), and Hawaii enrolled the highest percentages of Asian students (26 percent) and students of two or more races (30 percent).
Estimates include all public school students enrolled in prekindergarten through 12th grade. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. The 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) includes noninstitutionalized and institutionalized group quarters. Due to this and other methodological differences between the Current Population Survey (CPS) and ACS, enrollment estimates from the two surveys are not directly comparable. For more information on the ACS and the CPS, see Appendix B – Guide to Sources. For more information on race/ethnicity, see Appendix C – Commonly Used Measures.
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