Skip Navigation
Digest of Education Statistics: 2004
Digest of Education Statistics: 2004

NCES 2006-005
October 2005

Foreword and Acknowledgments


The 2004 edition of the Digest of Education Statistics is the 40th in a series of publications initiated in 1962. (The Digest has been issued annually except for combined editions for the years 197778, 198384, and 198586.) Its primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest includes a selection of data from many sources, both government and private, and draws especially on the results of surveys and activities carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). To qualify for inclusion in the Digest, material must be nationwide in scope and of current interest and value. The publication contains information on a variety of subjects in the field of education statistics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons. Supplemental information on population trends, attitudes on education, education characteristics of the labor force, government finances, and economic trends provides background for evaluating education data. Although the Digest contains important information on federal education funding, more detailed information on federal activities is available from federal education program offices.

The Digest contains seven chapters: All Levels of Education, Elementary and Secondary Education, Postsecondary Education, Federal Programs for Education and Related Activities, Outcomes of Education, International Comparisons of Education, and Libraries and Educational Technology. Preceding these chapters is an introduction that provides a brief overview of current trends in American education, which supplements the tabular materials in chapters 1 through 7. The Digest concludes with an appendix that is divided into several sections. The Guide to Sources provides a brief synopsis of the surveys used to generate the tabulations for the Digest. Also, a Definitions section is included to help readers understand terms used in the Digest.

In addition to updating many of the statistics that have appeared in previous years, this edition contains new material, including

  • average benefit expenditure for full-time instructional faculty on 9-month contracts in degree-granting institutions, by type of benefit and control of institution (table 242);
  • percent of 1988 8th-graders satisfied with various aspects of their job in 2000, by educational attainment (table 392).

Beginning in 2005, updates to some tables from the Digest of Education Statistics appear on the NCES website prior to printing. The Digest and other NCES reports can be accessed from

Val Plisko
Associate Commissioner
Early Childhood, International, and Crosscutting Studies Division


Many people have contributed in one way or another to the development of the Digest of Education Statistics 2004. Thomas D. Snyder was responsible for the overall development and preparation of this edition of the Digest, which was prepared under the general direction of Val Plisko. William Sonnenberg provided statistical computing consultation on all phases of the report.

The following people from the Education Statistics Services Institute (ESSI) of the American Institutes for Research contributed to the report. Alexandra Tan managed the table update and review process. Richa Arora, Juliana Bonilla, Sanyu Kibuka, Charmaine Llagas, and Aparna Sundaram updated and formatted tables. Charlene M. Hoffman, a consultant, was responsible for Chapter 4 Federal Programs for Education and Related Activities, and for tables on degrees conferred. Ramani Kotaru reviewed the report and table updates for accuracy. Deven Carlson, Geeta Kotak, Kara Lindstrom, Lisette Partelow, and Todd Thomas assisted with updating the tables; Dee Ann Brimhall, Matt DeBell, Sandy Eyster, Michael Hurwitz, and Angelina KewalRamani provided additional programming support. Mary Jo Metzler prepared the Guide to Sources. Emily Holt assisted in managing the review process; Paul Bailey assisted with programming the database for tracking reviews and updates. Nancy Rhyne formatted the tables. Michael Rollins updated the figures. Chris Stahnke, Joanna Bujard, and Rithu Mathur of Pinkerton Computer Consultants prepared the website.

This year's edition of the Digest has received extensive reviews by many individuals within and outside the U.S. Department of Education. We wish to thank them for their time and expert advice. Marilyn Seastrom, Chief Statistician of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), supervised the review of the publication. Duc-Le To of the Institute of Education Sciences reviewed the publication. NCES staff who reviewed portions of the manuscript were Stephen Broughman, Kathryn Chandler, Chris Chapman, Steve Gorman, Kerry Gruber, Lee Hoffman, Frank Johnson, Barbara Marenus, Elois Scott, John Sietsema, and Jeff Williams. Kevin Bromer, Deven Carlson, Rachel Dinkes, Nina Emerson, Heather Freilich, Lauren Gilbertson, Jason Hill, Geeta Kotak, Pia Peltola, Laura Salganik, Aparna Sundaram, Jed Tank, Todd Thomas, and Zeyu Xu of ESSI assisted with the technical review of the document.