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Trends in the Use of School Choice: 1993 to 2007
NCES 2010-004
April 2010

Demographic Variations in Student Enrollment in 2007

Another way to examine how student and household characteristics are associated with enrollment in different types of schools is to compare student and household characteristics within each type of school. Table 2 shows the distributions of students with different characteristics in assigned public schools, chosen public schools, religious private schools, and nonsectarian private schools in 2007.

Race/ethnicity

In 2007, some 58 percent of assigned public school students were White, 19 percent were Hispanic, 14 percent were Black, and 3 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander (table 2 and figure 2). The race/ethnicity distributions of students in the four school types reveal that a higher percentage of students in both types of private schools were White compared with students in both types of public schools (73 percent religious private and 69 percent nonsectarian private vs. 58 percent assigned public and 47 percent chosen public). A higher percentage of students in chosen public schools were Black (22 percent) compared with other school types (14 percent in assigned public schools, 9 percent in religious private schools, and 11 percent in nonsectarian private schools). A higher percentage of students in both types of public schools than students in both types of private schools were Hispanic (19 percent in assigned public schools and 21 percent in chosen public schools vs. 12 percent in religious private schools and 9 percent in nonsectarian private schools).

Disability status

Relatively more students in assigned public schools were reported by their parents as having a disability (24 percent), compared with students in religious private schools (20 percent) (table 2). No other measurable differences by school type were found for the percentages of students with disabilities.

Poverty status

Higher percentages of public school students were poor or near-poor compared with private school students (figure 3). For example, 20 percent of students in assigned public schools and 22 percent of students in chosen public schools were poor compared with 6 percent of students in religious private schools and 6 percent15 of students in nonsectarian private schools.

Parents' highest level of education

In 2007, a higher percentage of students in assigned and chosen public schools had parents who had less than a high school diploma or GED (8 percent and 5 percent) compared with students in private schools (1 and 2 percent)16 (figure 4). Also, a higher percentage of students in assigned public schools (24 percent) and chosen public schools (22 percent) compared with students in private schools (9 and 10 percent for religious and nonsectarian, respectively) had parents whose highest level of education was a high school diploma or GED. There was variation between school types when analyzing students whose parents had graduate or professional education. A higher percentage of both types of private school students had a parent with graduate or professional education (56 and 36 percent), than did students in both types of public schools (22 percent of chosen public school students, and 18 percent of assigned public school students).

Family structure

In 2007, a higher percentage of religious private school students were in two-parent families compared with either assigned public school or chosen public school students (83 percent vs. 72 and 68 percent, respectively) (table 2). A higher percentage of nonsectarian private school students were in two-parent families compared with chosen public school students (81 vs. 68 percent, respectively).

Locale

A higher percentage of students in both assigned public (38 percent) and private religious schools (45 percent) lived in suburbs compared to cities, towns or rural areas, whereas in chosen public and private nonsectarian schools, a higher percentage of students lived in cities (46 percent and 53 percent respectively) compared to other locale types. In addition, assigned public schools had the largest share of rural students (22 percent) compared to other school types.

Region

In 2007, there were differences across school type in the distribution of students by region (table 2). For example, 37 percent of assigned public school students resided in the South, compared with 18 percent in the Northeast, 22 percent in the Midwest, and 23 percent in the West. Similarly, a higher percentage of students attending chosen public schools resided in the South (33 percent) and the West (32 percent) than in the Northeast or the Midwest (14 and 21 percent, respectively). The smallest percentage of religious private school students lived in the West (17 percent), and the highest percentage lived in the South (35 percent).

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15 Interpret data with caution. This estimate is unstable; the coefficient of variation is 30 percent or more.
16 Interpret data with caution. This estimate is unstable; the coefficient of variation is 30 percent or more.


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