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Homeschooling in the United States: 2003

NCES 2006-042
February 2006

Summary and Future Research

The report based on NCES’s first comprehensive survey of homeschoolers nationwide, Homeschooling in the United States: 1999, showed approximately 850,000 students nationwide were being homeschooled, representing 1.7 percent of U.S. students ages 5 to 17 in grades K–12. Among other findings the survey showed that the racial and ethnic composition of homeschoolers differed from that of nonhomeschoolers—75 percent of homeschooled students were White, non-Hispanic, compared with 65 percent of nonhomeschooled students.

This report provides the latest information from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on the state of homeschooling in the United States. The report shows an increase in the number and percentage of homeschooled students between 1999 and 2003, from 850,000 or 1.7 percent of the school-age population in 1999 to 1.1 million or 2.2 percent in 2003. Although there was an increase in the number and percentage of homeschoolers, the individual, family and household characteristics of homeschoolers, including race and ethnicity, remained fairly consistent between 1999 and 2003. Parents’ most important reasons for homeschooling were concern about the environment of other schools and to provide religious or moral instruction. New data on homeschoolers’ use of distance learning showed that 41 percent of homeschoolers had engaged in some form of distance learning asked about in the 2003 survey.

NCES plans to collect and report data about homeschooled students with future Parent and Family Involvement in Education Surveys (PFI), scheduled to occur on a four-year cycle. The next PFI is scheduled for 2007 as part of the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES). The PFI surveys continue to provide a comprehensive set of information that may be used to estimate the number and characteristics of homeschoolers in the United States.