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Digest of Education Statistics
2016 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest


Table 212.08. Number and percentage distribution of principals in public and private elementary and secondary schools, by selected characteristics: Selected years, 1993-94 through 2011-12
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Selected characteristic Number of principals Percentage distribution of principals
1993-94 1999-2000 2003-04 2007-08 2011-12 1993-94 1999-2000 2003-04 2007-08 2011-12
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Public schools                                                            
Total 79,620   (235) 83,790   (327) 87,620   (307) 90,470   (544) 89,810   (406) 100.0   (†) 100.0   (†) 100.0   (†) 100.0   (†) 100.0   (†)
Sex                                                            
Male 52,110   (613) 47,130   (604) 45,930   (707) 44,950   (1,129) 43,450   (901) 65.5   (0.70) 56.2   (0.69) 52.4   (0.79) 49.7   (1.21) 48.4   (0.92)
Female 27,500   (542) 36,660   (598) 41,690   (708) 45,520   (1,129) 46,360   (801) 34.5   (0.70) 43.8   (0.69) 47.6   (0.79) 50.3   (1.21) 51.6   (0.92)
                                                             
Race/ethnicity                                                            
White1  67,080   (540) 68,930   (579) 72,200   (509) 73,160   (1,008) 72,070   (723) 84.3   (0.54) 82.3   (0.57) 82.4   (0.52) 80.9   (0.92) 80.3   (0.66)
Black1  8,020   (351) 9,240   (321) 9,250   (377) 9,620   (659) 9,110   (394) 10.1   (0.45) 11.0   (0.39) 10.6   (0.43) 10.6   (0.73) 10.1   (0.43)
Hispanic1 3,270   (258) 4,330   (300) 4,680   (355) 5,870   (540) 6,130   (404) 4.1   (0.33) 5.2   (0.36) 5.3   (0.40) 6.5   (0.60) 6.8   (0.46)
Asian1,2 620   (109) 630   (124) 460   (87) 570   (146) 820   (154) 0.8   (0.14) 0.8   (0.15) 0.5   (0.10) 0.6   (0.16) 0.9   (0.17)
Pacific Islander   (†)   (†) 80   (18) 130 ! (52) 20 ! (9)   (†)   (†) 0.1   (0.02) 0.1 ! (0.06) #   (†)
American Indian/
      Alaska Native1
630   (67) 660   (60) 600   (80) 620   (179) 650   (123) 0.8   (0.08) 0.8   (0.07) 0.7   (0.09) 0.7   (0.20) 0.7   (0.14)
Two or more races   (†)   (†) 350   (82) 490 ! (155) 1,010   (183)   (†)   (†) 0.4   (0.09) 0.5 ! (0.17) 1.1   (0.20)
                                                             
Age                                                            
Under 40 5,940   (273) 8,440   (302) 12,840   (477) 17,290   (785) 18,040   (523) 7.5   (0.34) 10.1   (0.35) 14.7   (0.55) 19.1   (0.84) 20.1   (0.58)
40 to 44 14,570   (496) 10,510   (317) 9,540   (449) 13,330   (706) 17,650   (565) 18.3   (0.61) 12.5   (0.37) 10.9   (0.51) 14.7   (0.78) 19.7   (0.62)
45 to 49 25,430   (429) 19,600   (535) 16,120   (526) 13,690   (767) 14,700   (541) 31.9   (0.55) 23.4   (0.63) 18.4   (0.59) 15.1   (0.86) 16.4   (0.60)
50 to 54 18,870   (539) 27,120   (606) 24,170   (669) 17,570   (746) 15,060   (668) 23.7   (0.68) 32.4   (0.71) 27.6   (0.75) 19.4   (0.82) 16.8   (0.73)
55 or over 14,820   (441) 18,130   (500) 24,960   (679) 28,590   (1,000) 24,350   (655) 18.6   (0.55) 21.6   (0.60) 28.5   (0.76) 31.6   (1.06) 27.1   (0.74)
                                                             
School level                                                            
Elementary 53,680 4  (294) 60,110   (253) 61,480   (361) 62,340   (584) 61,250   (443) 71.9   (0.21) 71.7   (0.21) 70.2   (0.32) 68.9   (0.54) 68.2   (0.38)
Secondary 18,260 4  (161) 20,450   (197) 19,700   (272) 21,550   (460) 20,470   (537) 24.4   (0.20) 24.4   (0.20) 22.5   (0.32) 23.8   (0.46) 22.8   (0.56)
Combined 2,750 4  (143) 3,230   (146) 6,450   (263) 6,580   (364) 8,090   (658) 3.7   (0.19) 3.9   (0.17) 7.4   (0.30) 7.3   (0.40) 9.0   (0.74)
                                                             
Highest degree earned                                                            
Bachelor's or less 1,150   (167) 1,540   (182) 1,650   (213) 1,320   (207) 1,960   (272) 1.4   (0.21) 1.8   (0.22) 1.9   (0.24) 1.5   (0.23) 2.2   (0.30)
Master's 50,470   (536) 45,440   (579) 51,840   (657) 55,250   (906) 55,420   (678) 63.4   (0.65) 54.2   (0.63) 59.2   (0.71) 61.1   (1.01) 61.7   (0.71)
Education specialist3  20,570   (459) 28,280   (493) 26,570   (619) 26,270   (930) 23,560   (492) 25.8   (0.57) 33.8   (0.60) 30.3   (0.69) 29.0   (0.97) 26.2   (0.54)
Doctor's or first
      professional
7,430   (263) 8,530   (386) 7,560   (376) 7,630   (512) 8,870   (442) 9.3   (0.33) 10.2   (0.46) 8.6   (0.43) 8.4   (0.57) 9.9   (0.49)
                                                             
Number of years as a
      principal
                                                           
3 or fewer 24,450   (451) 25,080   (513) 30,400   (695) 31,500   (1,033) 29,520   (758) 30.7   (0.56) 29.9   (0.60) 34.7   (0.78) 34.8   (1.11) 32.9   (0.84)
4 to 9 26,600   (548) 25,900   (524) 29,160   (710) 32,140   (989) 35,500   (886) 33.4   (0.68) 30.9   (0.61) 33.3   (0.80) 35.5   (1.09) 39.5   (0.96)
10 to 19 19,730   (412) 23,230   (525) 21,330   (663) 20,470   (926) 19,870   (634) 24.8   (0.52) 27.7   (0.62) 24.3   (0.76) 22.6   (1.01) 22.1   (0.70)
20 or more 8,840   (377) 9,580   (331) 6,740   (314) 6,350   (414) 4,920   (273) 11.1   (0.47) 11.4   (0.39) 7.7   (0.35) 7.0   (0.46) 5.5   (0.31)
                                                             
Years of full-time
      teaching experience
      prior to becoming a
      principal
                                                           
3 or fewer 5,690   (251) 3,210   (186) 4,820   (280) 4,150   (384) 4,040   (264) 7.1   (0.31) 3.8   (0.22) 5.5   (0.32) 4.6   (0.42) 4.5   (0.30)
4 to 9 29,500   (516) 22,510   (491) 26,260   (603) 30,260   (958) 34,240   (792) 37.1   (0.63) 26.9   (0.57) 30.0   (0.70) 33.4   (1.03) 38.1   (0.84)
10 to 19 36,680   (558) 38,110   (597) 39,790   (676) 40,200   (992) 39,160   (752) 46.1   (0.70) 45.5   (0.69) 45.4   (0.73) 44.4   (1.09) 43.6   (0.82)
20 or more 7,740   (275) 19,960   (485) 16,760   (552) 15,850   (781) 12,380   (519) 9.7   (0.34) 23.8   (0.57) 19.1   (0.62) 17.5   (0.86) 13.8   (0.58)
                                                             
School locale                                                            
City   (†) 20,100   (328) 22,690   (425) 21,560   (731) 23,440   (274) 27.4   (0.34) 24.0   (0.40) 25.9   (0.49) 23.8   (0.81) 26.1   (0.28)
Suburban   (†) 30,640   (440) 25,600   (506) 25,880   (921) 24,520   (356) 25.9   (0.45) 36.6   (0.53) 29.2   (0.56) 28.6   (1.01) 27.3   (0.36)
Town   (†) 10,860   (228) 13,700   (424) 13,860   (669) 12,330   (341) 22.0   (0.43) 13.0   (0.26) 15.6   (0.48) 15.3   (0.74) 13.7   (0.40)
Rural   (†) 22,200   (404) 25,640   (492) 29,170   (1,012) 29,520   (430) 24.7   (0.43) 26.5   (0.44) 29.3   (0.55) 32.2   (1.07) 32.9   (0.43)
                                                             
Private schools                                                            
Total 25,020   (198) 26,230   (259) 27,690   (677) 27,960   (328) 25,730   (605) 100.0   (†) 100.0     100.0   (†) 100.0   (†) 100.0   (†)
Sex                                                            
Male 11,610   (301) 11,900   (308) 12,110   (552) 13,070   (457) 11,490   (501) 46.4   (1.10) 45.4   (1.06) 43.7   (1.43) 46.7   (1.38) 44.6   (1.48)
Female 13,410   (283) 14,330   (307) 15,580   (491) 14,890   (369) 14,240   (462) 53.6   (1.10) 54.6   (1.06) 56.3   (1.43) 53.3   (1.38) 55.4   (1.48)
                                                             
Race/ethnicity                                                            
White1  23,130   (270) 23,320   (309) 24,850   (715) 24,400   (409) 22,470   (628) 92.5   (0.70) 88.9   (0.76) 89.8   (0.88) 87.3   (0.91) 87.3   (1.08)
Black1  1,060   (124) 1,570   (164) 1,440   (155) 1,820   (184) 1,750   (193) 4.2   (0.50) 6.0   (0.62) 5.2   (0.57) 6.5   (0.67) 6.8   (0.75)
Hispanic1 520   (91) 830   (135) 820   (116) 1,110   (149) 860   (141) 2.1   (0.37) 3.2   (0.52) 3.0   (0.41) 4.0   (0.52) 3.3   (0.56)
Asian1,2 170   (43) 350   (64) 330   (82) 330   (77) 460   (101) 0.7   (0.17) 1.3   (0.25) 1.2   (0.29) 1.2   (0.28) 1.8   (0.38)
Pacific Islander   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)
American Indian/
      Alaska Native1
130   (37) 150 ! (39) 160 ! (77)   (†)   (†) 0.5   (0.15) 0.6   (0.15) 0.6 ! (0.27)   (†)   (†)
Two or more races   (†)   (†) 60 ! (28) 200 ! (62) 90 ! (45)   (†)   (†) 0.2 ! (0.10) 0.7 ! (0.22) 0.4 ! (0.17)
                                                             
Age                                                            
Under 40 4,790   (302) 3,750   (223) 4,420   (267) 4,750   (318) 4,360   (392) 19.2   (1.21) 14.3   (0.80) 16.0   (0.94) 17.0   (1.09) 16.9   (1.44)
40 to 44 4,400   (217) 3,450   (212) 3,040   (250) 3,250   (277) 3,130   (300) 17.6   (0.83) 13.2   (0.83) 11.0   (0.85) 11.6   (1.00) 12.2   (1.05)
45 to 49 5,140   (216) 5,210   (261) 4,020   (250) 3,420   (246) 2,630   (281) 20.6   (0.87) 19.9   (0.96) 14.5   (0.82) 12.2   (0.86) 10.2   (1.00)
50 to 54 4,120   (228) 5,840   (291) 5,820   (337) 4,390   (263) 3,480   (247) 16.5   (0.90) 22.3   (1.11) 21.0   (1.00) 15.7   (0.94) 13.5   (0.93)
55 or over 6,550   (043) 7,980   (276) 10,390   (82) 12,150   (77) 12,120   (101) 26.2   (0.17) 30.4   (1.01) 37.5   (0.29) 43.5   (0.28) 47.1   (0.38)
                                                             
School level                                                            
Elementary 13,350 4  (244) 15,810   (245) 16,750   (327) 16,110   (297) 14,510   (505) 59.5   (0.74) 60.3   (0.85) 60.5   (1.07) 57.6   (0.81) 56.4   (0.90)
Secondary 2,300 4  (115) 2,630   (133) 2,510   (364) 2,930   (168) 2,660   (138) 10.3   (0.52) 10.0   (0.51) 9.1   (1.14) 10.5   (0.59) 10.3   (0.57)
Combined 6,770 4  (174) 7,800   (265) 8,430   (281) 8,920   (271) 8,570   (210) 30.2   (0.77) 29.7   (0.89) 30.4   (0.77) 31.9   (0.88) 33.3   (0.71)
                                                             
Highest degree earned                                                            
Bachelor's or less 8,590   (337) 8,050   (334) 9,170   (422) 9,120   (427) 7,990   (570) 34.3   (1.23) 30.7   (1.16) 33.1   (1.27) 32.6   (1.37) 31.0   (1.73)
Master's 12,900   (292) 13,370   (288) 13,720   (458) 14,030   (344) 12,800   (363) 51.6   (1.28) 51.0   (1.09) 49.5   (1.20) 50.2   (1.20) 49.7   (1.49)
Education specialist3  2,050   (103) 2,600   (159) 2,950   (183) 2,800   (203) 2,610   (200) 8.2   (0.41) 9.9   (0.60) 10.7   (0.61) 10.0   (0.75) 10.1   (0.80)
Doctor's or first
      professional
1,480   (138) 2,220   (167) 1,850   (190) 2,010   (177) 2,340   (224) 5.9   (0.54) 8.5   (0.64) 6.7   (0.63) 7.2   (0.63) 9.1   (0.87)
                                                             
Number of years as a
      principal
                                                           
3 or fewer 8,270   (341) 7,540   (327) 8,990   (395) 9,190   (351) 7,100   (516) 33.1   (1.32) 28.7   (1.19) 32.5   (1.23) 32.9   (1.20) 27.6   (1.74)
4 to 9 7,080   (269) 6,990   (320) 6,830   (283) 7,230   (345) 6,750   (415) 28.3   (1.03) 26.6   (1.16) 24.6   (0.95) 25.9   (1.19) 26.2   (1.45)
10 to 19 6,950   (310) 7,340   (250) 7,260   (381) 6,430   (298) 6,910   (350) 27.8   (1.23) 28.0   (0.93) 26.2   (1.03) 23.0   (1.04) 26.8   (1.33)
20 or more 2,710   (189) 4,360   (230) 4,610   (275) 5,110   (260) 4,970   (318) 10.8   (0.77) 16.6   (0.90) 16.7   (0.88) 18.3   (0.91) 19.3   (1.27)
                                                             
Years of full-time
      teaching experience
      prior to becoming a
      principal
                                                           
3 or fewer 6,290   (335) 3,610   (241) 7,350   (359) 7,850   (381) 6,820   (473) 25.2   (1.27) 13.8   (0.87) 26.6   (1.19) 28.1   (1.24) 26.5   (1.48)
4 to 9 6,940   (268) 5,560   (244) 6,690   (357) 7,030   (287) 6,810   (363) 27.8   (1.05) 21.2   (0.88) 24.2   (1.15) 25.1   (1.00) 26.5   (1.36)
10 to 19 9,240   (251) 9,070   (260) 9,110   (394) 8,510   (306) 7,790   (403) 36.9   (1.03) 34.6   (1.04) 32.9   (1.09) 30.4   (1.09) 30.3   (1.50)
20 or more 2,540   (136) 7,990   (265) 4,530   (275) 4,580   (247) 4,310   (249) 10.1   (0.54) 30.4   (0.98) 16.4   (0.83) 16.4   (0.89) 16.7   (0.99)
                                                             
School locale                                                            
City   (†) 11,250   (226) 9,670   (374) 9,610   (268) 8,590   (267)   (†) 42.9   (0.78) 34.9   (1.05) 34.4   (0.90) 33.4   (1.28)
Suburban   (†) 9,190   (229) 11,690   (370) 9,510   (229) 8,110   (298)   (†) 35.0   (0.80) 42.2   (1.14) 34.0   (0.83) 31.5   (1.27)
Town   (†) 3,250   (190) 1,980   (179) 2,780   (205) 2,630   (323)   (†) 12.4   (0.73) 7.2   (0.59) 10.0   (0.72) 10.2   (1.16)
Rural   (†) 2,540   (211) 4,350   (293) 6,060   (296) 6,390   (510)   (†) 9.7   (0.78) 15.7   (0.85) 21.7   (0.95) 24.8   (1.57)
—Not available.
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
1 Data for 1993-94 and 1999-2000 are only roughly comparable to data for later years, because the new category of Two or more races was introduced in 2003-04.
2 Includes Pacific Islander for 1993-94 and 1999-2000.
3 Education specialist degrees or certificates are generally awarded for 1 year's work beyond the master's level. Includes certificate of advanced graduate studies.
4 Excludes data for 4,930 public and 2,690 private school principals whose school level could not be determined.
NOTE: Data are based on a head count of full-time and part-time principals rather than on the number of full-time-equivalent principals reported in other tables. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding, missing data, and cell suppression. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), "Public School Principal Data File" and "Private School Principal Data File," 1993-94, 1999-2000, 2003-04, 2007-08, and 2011-12; and "Charter School Principal Data File," 1999-2000. (This table was prepared November 2015.)

2016 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest