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Back to school statistics

It’s back to school time—what do we know about our nation’s students and schools?


Across the country, hallways and classrooms are full of activity as students head back to school for the 2019–20 academic year. Each year, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) compiles some back-to-school facts and figures that give a snapshot of our schools and colleges for the coming year. Scroll through below to learn more.




Brightly-colored school supplies


How many students will attend school in fall 2019?

About 56.6 million students will attend elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States (source).

Of the 50.8 million public school students (source):

About 3.7 million students are expected to graduate from high school during the 2019–20 school year, including 3.3 million students from public schools and 0.3 million from private schools (source).

How does fall 2019 public school enrollment compare with years past?

Fall 2019 public school enrollment is expected to be slightly higher than the 50.7 million students enrolled in fall 2018 and it is the highest enrollment ever reported for public schools (source). Total public elementary and secondary enrollment is projected to increase between fall 2019 and fall 2028 to 51.4 million.

What are the demographics of public school students?

The projected 50.8 million public school students entering prekindergarten through grade 12 in fall 2019 is expected to include (source):

Since fall 2014, less than half of public school students have been White. The percentage of public school students who are White is projected to continue to decline through at least fall 2028 along with the percentages of students who are Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native. The percentages of students who are Hispanic, Asian, and of Two or more races are projected to increase. The percentage of Black students is expected to be about the same in 2028 as it was in 2016.

To learn more about student demographics, explore NCES’ variety of Fast Facts, which focus on topics including:


How many teachers are there in the United States?

There will be about 3.7 million teachers in fall 2019 (source).

Visit our Fast Fact on teacher trends to learn more about the teaching profession in the United States.


How much will be spent on PK–12 education this school year?


Group of smiling young adult students


How many students will attend colleges and universities in fall 2019?

About 19.9 million students will attend colleges and universities in fall 2019 (source).

How will college enrollments differ by student characteristics in fall 2019?

How does fall 2019 college and university enrollment compare with years past?


During the 2019–20 academic year, how many degrees are colleges and universities expected to award?

For more information:

NCES publishes a wide range of data on graduation rates, college costs, fields of study (or majors), number of degrees awarded, and employment outcomes in annual publications, including the Condition of Education and the Digest of Education Statistics.

Additional resources:

Other Resources:  (Listed by Release Date)