NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Just Who Are the Home Schooled?

August 6, 2001

A new Education Department study presents a profile of children who are taught at home. Most of them live in cities and have well-educated parents raising a handful of children on one income. The vast majority of parents earn less than $50,000 -- and many earn less than $25,000.

Most of the parents say they home school to give their children a better education -- with religious objectives second on the list.

  • The Education Department says the number of U.S. children being home-schooled could be as high as 992,000 or as low as 702,000 -- so it splits the difference and puts the figure at 850,000, or 1.7 percent of American children.
  • Indeed, government surveys have differed widely on the numbers -- with a 1994 Census Bureau estimate of just 360,000 children, and a 1996 Education Department estimate of 640,000.
  • The latest survey found that about 18 percent of home-schoolers were enrolled in schools part time -- with about 11 percent saying they use books or materials from public schools.
  • About 8 percent said they used public school curriculums and about 6 percent participated in extracurricular activities.

Source: Greg Toppo (Associated Press), "850,000 Kids Are Being Taught at Home, Study Finds," USA Today August 6, 2001.


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