NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Low Earning Families Favor Private Schools

December 29, 1997

Parents with low incomes frequently send their children to private schools, according to a new study by Shahira E. Knight, an economist with the Joint Economic Committee. This finding debunks the myth that private schools are the exclusive purview of children from wealthy families.

Here are some of the findings:

  • One in every four children in private elementary and high schools comes from a household that earns less than $35,000 annually.
  • Another 19 percent are from families earning between $35,000 and $50,000.
  • More than half of all families with a child in a Catholic elementary school earn less than $35,000 -- with more than one in 10 earning less than $15,000.
  • Families earning under $15,000 and those earning over $50,000 both represent about 11 percent of the total population attending parochial elementary schools.

Observers say school voucher proponents are using these figures to point out that low income families are willing to endure economic hardships in order to get their children out of poor performing public schools. These families recognize the critical importance a sound education will play in their children's future. And they appreciate the demonstrated superiority of private schools over the public system.

Source: Editorial, "Who Wants Vouchers," Wall Street Journal, Monday, December 29, 1997.


Browse more articles on Education Issues