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Homeschooling in the United States: 2003

NCES 2006-042
February 2006

Background

The nationwide household sampling approach undertaken by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) was initiated partly in response to the need for consistent empirical information on the prevalence of homeschooling in the United States and the characteristics of these homeschoolers. The household sampling frame utilized by the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES), although subject to coverage error, avoids many of the problems inherent in the use of incomplete sample frames, such as customers of curricular providers, membership lists, and administrative records of homeschoolers. The NHES is designed to collect data on a wide range of educational indicators and types of students, including, but not limited to homeschooling. Therefore, readers should note that the number of questions asked of homeschoolers and the number of homeschoolers represent only a small portion of the NHES collection. The report based on NCES’s first comprehensive survey of homeschoolers nationwide, Homeschooling in the United States: 1999, showed approximately 850,000 students nationwide were being homeschooled, representing 1.7 percent of U.S. students ages 5 to 17 in grades K–12. Among other findings the survey showed that the racial composition of homeschoolers differed from that of nonhomeschoolers—75 percent of homeschooled students were White, non-Hispanic, compared with 65 percent of nonhomeschooled students.


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