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Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports)
Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education

Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools

(Last Updated: May 2021)

Between fall 2009 and fall 2018, the percentage of public school students who were Hispanic increased from 22 to 27 percent. The percentage of public school students who were White decreased from 54 to 47 percent, and the percentage of students who were Black decreased from 17 to 15 percent.

Total enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools increased from 49.4 million students to 50.7 million students between fall 2009 and fall 2018.1 In addition, racial/ethnic distributions of public school students across the country have shifted.

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Figure 1. Percentage distribution of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity: Fall 2009 and fall 2018
Figure 1. Percentage distribution of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity: Fall 2009 and fall 2018

# Rounds to zero.

1 For fall 2009, data on students who were Pacific Islander and of Two or more races were reported by only a small number of states. Therefore, the data are not comparable to figures for 2018.

2 Includes imputations for prekindergarten enrollment in California and Oregon.

NOTE: Data are for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary and Secondary Education,” 2009–10 and 2018–19. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 203.50.

Figure 2. Percentage distribution of public elementary and secondary school students, by student’s race/ethnicity and percent of minority enrollment in school: Fall 2018
Figure 2. Percentage distribution of public elementary and secondary school students, by student’s race/ethnicity and percent of minority enrollment in school: Fall 2018

NOTE: Data are for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Minority students include students who were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and of Two or more races. Data reflect racial/ethnic data reported by schools. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey,” 2018–19. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 216.50.

Figure 3. Percentage distribution of public elementary and secondary school students, by student’s race/ethnicity and percentage of own racial/ethnic group enrolled in the school: Fall 2018
Figure 3. Percentage distribution of public elementary and secondary school students, by student’s race/ethnicity and percentage of own racial/ethnic group enrolled in the school: Fall 2018

NOTE: Data are for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Data for Two or more races are omitted from this figure; 99 percent of students of Two or more races were enrolled in schools where less than 25 percent of the students were of their own race. Data reflect racial/ethnic data reported by schools. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey,” 2018–19. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 216.55.


1 Data in this indicator represent the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

2 In fall 2009, students who were of Two or more races accounted for 1 percent of public elementary and secondary enrollment, and Pacific Islander students accounted for less than one half of 1 percent. However, for this year, data on these students were reported by only a small number of states; therefore, the data are not comparable with figures for fall 2018.

3 In fall 2009, state-level data on the racial/ethnic distribution of public school enrollment were based on students for whom race/ethnicity was reported, which may be less than the total number of students in the state. However, in fall 2018, enrollment data for students not reported by race/ethnicity were prorated by state to match the state totals. Due to the different approaches to treating students for whom race/ethnicity was not reported, use caution when interpreting the state-level comparisons between fall 2009 and fall 2018.

4 Minority students include students who were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and of Two or more races.

Supplemental Information

Table 203.50 (Digest 2020): Enrollment and percentage distribution of enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity and region: Selected years, fall 1995 through fall 2029;
Table 203.70 (Digest 2020): Percentage distribution of enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity and state or jurisdiction: Fall 2000 and fall 2018;
Table 216.50 (Digest 2020): Number and percentage distribution of public elementary and secondary school students, by percentage of minority enrollment in the school and student's racial/ethnic group: Selected years, fall 1995 through fall 2018;
Table 216.55 (Digest 2020): Number and percentage distribution of public elementary and secondary school students, by percentage of student's racial/ethnic group enrolled in the school and student's racial/ethnic group: Selected years, fall 1995 through fall 2018;
Table 216.50 (Digest 2016): Number and percentage distribution of public elementary and secondary school students, by percentage of minority enrollment in the school and student's racial/ethnic group: Selected years, fall 1995 through fall 2014;
Table 216.50 (Digest 2014): Number and percentage distribution of public elementary and secondary school students, by percentage of minority enrollment in the school and student's racial/ethnic group: Selected years, fall 1995 through fall 2012;
Table 44 (Digest 2011): Percentage distribution of enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity and state or jurisdiction: Fall 1999 and fall 2009
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