NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

School Enrollment Increasing

August 22, 1996

A record number of pupils will be enrolling in America's schools this fall, according to the Department of Education.

  • Some 51.7 million children will enter classrooms this year, compared to the previous record high of 51.3 million set in 1971.
  • The department predicts that new records will be set in each of the next 10 years.
  • It also predicts a need for 6,000 new schools and 190,000 new teachers -- at a cost of an extra $15 billion nationwide.

Demographers point to several reasons for the influx.

  • An increase in children born to baby boomers, who delayed marriage and childbearing compared to their parents' generation.
  • Increased immigration and higher birthrates among blacks and Hispanics.
  • More children enrolling in kindergarten and pre-kindergarten, as well as more students staying in school until they earn their diplomas.

School enrollments began to rise 10 years ago and are expected to peak in 2006 at 54.6 million children -- nearly 3 million more than today.

  • The largest school population increases will occur in the West and Southeast, with the North and Midwest remaining relatively stable.
  • High school enrollments will increase 15 percent nationwide -- and 30 percent in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Maryland.

Source: Rochelle Sharp, "Record School Enrollments Lie Ahead," Wall Street Journal, August 22, 1996.


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