While this year looks different, and many children will be doing school via zoom or other virtual technology, back to school season is here. We are inundated with advertisements for #2 pencils and sneakers to send our kids back to school with everything they need. Sending your children to public school or private school is both a personal decision, and often, and economic one, as many families would like to send their children to private schools, but cannot afford to do so. From the AGS variables, we looked at nationwide statistics, and some specific areas that have higher or lower private school enrollment.
Nationwide, the highest percentage of private school aged children are those that are in preschool and pre-kindergarten, as many areas do not offer a public option. Just over 40% of Pre-K children nationwide attend a private school. From there, it goes down significantly, with 12.18% of Kindergarten children, 10.56% of 1st-4th grade students, 10.7% of 5th-8th graders, and 10.10% of high school students attending private school.
At a state level, the lowest private school enrollment percentages are New Mexico (8.07%), West Virginia (8.64%) and Nevada (8.9%). Highest are in Hawaii (20.23%), Louisiana (18.56%), DC (17.76%), Maryland (17.45%), New York (16.81%), and Pennsylvania (16.8%). Overall, income has a large impact on the higher enrollment rates, but in some locations like Louisiana and Maryland, religious based private schools are popular.
On a local level, things get very interesting – most cities have areas where well over half of the kids go to private schools. This is true in Los Angeles, across the super affluent west side, and also in New York City, across Manhattan and the northern suburbs of Westchester county and southwest Connecticut.
We looked at the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, where private school is very popular in some areas. The map below shows what we would expect, that the affluent areas north of downtown Dallas and the area southwest of downtown Fort Worth have heavy private school enrollment. The suburbs of both Dallas and Fort Worth have highly rated public schools, making private schools less desirable in these areas.
The second map shows the area between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. In the affluent areas of each city, we see a high concentration of private school enrollment. We also see a heavy concentration of private school attendance in largely rural south eastern Pennsylvania – this is Amish country in Lancaster county, where rates are well above 50% in these areas.
The third area is Honolulu, where private school attendance is nearly twice that of the nationwide averages.