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Projections of Education Statistics to 2021

NCES 2013-008
January 2013

Section 1. Elementary and Secondary Enrollment: National


Figure 1. Actual and projected numbers for enrollment in elementary and secondary schools, by grade level: Fall 1996 through fall 2021

Figure 1. Actual and projected numbers for enrollment in elementary and secondary schools, by grade level: Fall 1996 through fall 2021


NOTE: PK = prekindergarten. Enrollment numbers for prekindergarten through 12th grade and prekindergarten through 8th grade include private nursery and prekindergarten enrollment in schools that offer kindergarten or higher grades. Since the biennial Private School Universe Survey (PSS) is collected in the fall of odd-numbered years, private school numbers for alternate years are estimated based on data from the PSS. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Mean absolute percentage errors of selected education statistics can be found in table A-2, appendix A.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education," 1996-97 through 2010-11; Private School Universe Survey (PSS), selected years 1997-98 through 2009-10; and National Elementary and Secondary Enrollment Model, 1972-2010. (This figure was prepared February 2012.)

Total elementary and secondary enrollment

  • increased 6 percent between 1996 and 2010; and
  • is projected to increase 7 percent between 2010 and 2021.

Enrollment in prekindergarten through grade 8

  • increased 3 percent between 1996 and 2010; and
  • is projected to increase 8 percent between 2010 and 2021.

Enrollment in grades 9-12

  • increased 15 percent between 1996 and 2010; and
  • is projected to increase 3 percent between 2010 and 2021.

For more information: Tables 1 and 2


Figure 2. Actual and projected numbers for enrollment in elementary and secondary schools, by control of school: Fall 1996 through fall 2021

Figure 2. Actual and projected numbers for enrollment in elementary and secondary schools, by control of school: Fall 1996 through fall 2021


NOTE: Private school numbers include private nursery and prekindergarten enrollment in schools that offer kindergarten or higher grades. Since the biennial Private School Universe Survey (PSS) is collected in the fall of odd-numbered years, private school numbers for alternate years are estimated based on data from the PSS. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Mean absolute percentage errors of selected education statistics can be found in table A-2, appendix A.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education," 1997-98 through 2010-11; Private School Universe Survey (PSS), selected years 1997-98 through 2009-10; and National Elementary and Secondary Enrollment Model, 1972-2010. (This figure was prepared February 2012.)

Enrollment by control of school

Enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools

  • increased 8 percent between 1996 and 2010; and
  • is projected to increase 7 percent between 2010 and 2021.

Enrollment in private elementary and secondary schools

  • decreased 9 percent between 1996 and 2010; and
  • is projected to be 1 percent lower in 2021 than in 2010.

For more information: Table 1


Figure 3. Actual and projected numbers for enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity: Fall 1996 through fall 2021

Figure 3. Actual and projected numbers for enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity: Fall 1996 through fall 2021


NOTE: The historical racial/ethnic time-series were constructed using racial/ethnic enrollment data at the state level for individual grades. In some instances, enrollment data by race/ethnicity had to be imputed. Further, in some instances, the racial/ethnic enrollment data for individual grades had to be adjusted to the state total for that grade. For additional information see the Elementary and Secondary Enrollment section A.1 in appendix A. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Mean absolute percentage errors of selected education statistics can be found in table A-2, appendix A. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education," 1996-97 through 2010-11; and National Public Elementary and Secondary Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity Model, 1994-2010. (This figure was prepared February 2012.)

Enrollment by race/ethnicity

Between 2010 and 2021, enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools is projected to

  • decrease 2 percent for students who are White;
  • increase 5 percent for students who are Black;
  • increase 24 percent for students who are Hispanic;
  • increase 26 percent for students who are Asian/Pacific Islander;
  • increase 16 percent for students who are American Indian/Alaska Native; and
  • increase 34 percent for students who are two or more races. (This racial/ethnic group was not included in figure 3, due to its size in comparison to the other groups.)

For more information: Tables 3, 4, and 5

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