The 2020 edition of the Digest of Education Statistics is the 56th in a series of publications initiated in 1962. The Digest has been issued annually except for combined editions for the years 1977–78, 1983–84, and 1985–86. 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 data on 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 tables organized into seven chapters: All Levels of Education, Elementary and Secondary Education, Postsecondary Education, Federal Funds for Education and Related Activities, Outcomes of Education, International Comparisons of Education, and Libraries and Use of Technology. Each chapter is divided into a number of topical subsections. Digest tables are the foundation of the congressionally-mandated Condition of Education (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/), which contains key indicators that describe and visualize important developments and trends. The Digest concludes with two appendixes. The first appendix, Guide to Sources, provides a brief synopsis of the surveys used to generate the Digest tables; the second, Definitions, is included to help readers understand terms used in the Digest.
The Digest from 1990 to the present can be accessed from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest (prior editions can be accessed through links provided here: https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=932). Tables from each Digest edition since 1995 can be viewed by selecting the edition year from a drop-down menu. Starting with the 2020 edition, a print version of the Digest is no longer available. All tables are included in the online version. In addition, the 2020 edition no longer contains chapter text describing findings from selected tables. Instead, readers should refer to the Condition of Education (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/), which summarizes important developments and trends using data from the Digest. Digest tables are available both in HTML format and as downloadable Excel files. A new experimental product, the machine-readable tables, are also available for download for some Digest tables in the two most recent editions from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/mrt_tables.asp. The “Most Current Digest Tables” page provides access to the latest versions of all tables, including any tables already completed for an edition currently in progress.
In addition to providing updated versions of many statistics that have appeared in previous years, this edition incorporates new material on the following topics:
Cristobal de Brey
Annual Reports and Information Staff