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Educational institutions

Question:
How many educational institutions exist in the United States?

Response:

Despite an increase in the number of students, the number of public schools declined in the United States, reflecting a trend toward consolidating small schools during most of the last century. In 1929–30, there were approximately 248,000 public schools, compared with about 98,500 in 2017–18. However, the number of public schools has increased in recent decades: Between 1988–89 and 2006–07, there was an increase of approximately 15,600 schools, up to a total of 98,800. Since 2006–07, the number of public schools has remained relatively stable, varying by fewer than 500 schools from year to year.

Since the early 1970s, public school systems have been shifting away from junior high schools (schools consisting of either grades 7 and 8 or grades 7–9) and moving toward middle schools (a subset of elementary schools beginning with grade 4, 5, or 6 and ending with grade 6, 7, or 8). The number of all public elementary schools (schools beginning with grade 6 or below and ending with grade 8 or below) increased 5 percent between 1970–71 and 2017–18 (from 64,000 to 67,400), and the number of middle schools increased by 546 percent (from 2,100 in 1970–71 to 13,400 in 2017–18). During the same period, the number of junior high schools declined by 68 percent (from 7,800 in 1970–71 to 2,500 in 2017–18). Compared over more recent years, the number of all elementary schools was less than 1 percent higher in 2017–18 than in 2007–08, while the subset of middle schools rose by 3 percent, from 13,000 to 13,400. During the same period, the number of junior high schools declined by 20 percent, from 3,100 to 2,500. The total number of secondary schools decreased 3 percent, from 24,600 in 2007–08 to 23,900 in 2017–18.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2021). Digest of Education Statistics, 2019 (NCES 2021-009), Chapter 2.

Number of educational institutions, by level and control of institution: Selected years, 1980–81 through 2017–18
Level and control of institution 1980–81 1990–91 1999–2000 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
Public schools 85,982 84,538 92,012 98,916 98,706 98,817 98,817 98,328 98,454 98,271 98,176 98,277 98,158 98,469
Elementary 59,326 59,015 64,131 67,112 67,148 67,140 67,086 66,689 66,708 67,034 67,073 66,758 66,837 67,408
Secondary 22,619 21,135 22,365 24,643 24,348 24,651 24,544 24,357 24,294 24,067 24,181 24,040 23,814 23,882
Combined 1,743 2,325 4,042 5,899 5,623 5,730 6,137 6,311 6,329 6,189 6,347 6,788 6,783 6,278
Other1 2,294 2,063 1,474 1,262 1,587 1,296 1,050 971 1,123 981 575 691 724 901
Private schools2 20,764 24,690 32,995 33,740 33,366 30,861 33,619 34,576 32,461
Postsecondary Title IV institutions 6,407 6,551 6,632 6,742 7,021 7,234 7,253 7,236 7,151 7,021 6,606 6,502
Degree-granting institutions 3,231 3,559 4,084 4,352 4,409 4,495 4,599 4,706 4,726 4,724 4,627 4,583 4,360 4,313
2-year colleges 1,274 1,418 1,721 1,677 1,690 1,721 1,729 1,738 1,700 1,685 1,616 1,579 1,528 1,485
4-year colleges 1,957 2,141 2,363 2,675 2,719 2,774 2,870 2,968 3,026 3,039 3,011 3,004 2,832 2,828

– Not available.
1Includes special education, alternative, and other schools not classified by grade span. Because of changes in survey definitions, figures for "other" schools are not comparable from year to year.
2Data for 1980–81 and 1990–91 include schools with first or higher grades. Data for later years include schools with kindergarten or higher grades.
NOTE: Postsecondary data for 1980-81 and 1990-91 are for institutions of higher education, while later data are for Title IV degree-granting and non-degree-granting institutions.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2021). Digest of Education Statistics, 2019 (NCES 2021-009), Table 105.50.

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