Enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools has trended upward, increasing 7.4% from 2000 to 2018 when 50.7 million students were enrolled, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Birth rates, immigration and expanding access to prekindergarten are driving the rise.
During the same period, enrollment in PreK through grade 8 increased by 5.3%, reaching 35.5 million students in fall 2018. Enrollment in grades 9 through 12 increased by 13.3% between 2000 and 2018, to 15.3 million students.
Total public-school enrollment is projected to continue increasing through fall 2028. From 2018 to 2028, total public-school enrollment is projected to increase by 1.4% to 51.4 million students.
During this period, public school enrollment in PreK through grade 8 is projected to decrease by 1% to 35.2 million students between fall 2016 and fall 2022 and then increase by 3% to 36.1 million students in fall 2028. Enrollment in grades 9 through 12 is projected to increase by 5% to 15.9 million students between fall 2016 and fall 2023 and then decrease by 3% to 15.3 million students in fall 2028.
Changes in the level of enrollment, as well as the demographic makeup of students, can impact public schools considerably. Enrollment is an important factor in determining the federal, state and local funding schools receive.
For PreK-12 educational publishers looking to address the needs of a growing student body, a good source of information is Simba Information's June 2019 report, PreK-12 Enrollment & Demographics, 2019-2020.
PreK-12 Enrollment & Demographics, 2019-2020 covers national and state enrollment trends and demographics in the U.S. It includes the most recent information available on how many public schools are charter schools and the growth trends for virtual and blended schools, as well as for prekindergarten programs.