104 Vital American School Statistics for 2021/2022: Types, Districts & Courses

More than 80% of Americans believe that learning to read and write must be the number one priority of K-12 students. Nevertheless, it is surprising that respondents ranked college education as a low priority. This is despite the low unemployment rates of college graduates, one of the trends in higher education.

And many would argue that it is one of the best solutions to both the country’s and the world’s problems. But while the number of students in the US is increasing, the number of schools catering to them is decreasing. Further aggravating this already dire situation is the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to wreak havoc in American schools. Below are American school statistics that offer key ideas about the current state of American education.

school statistics

1. American Schools and COVID-19

In March 2020, American public health authorities announced the closure of primary and secondary schools across the U.S. With more than 27 million coronavirus cases and over 470,000 deaths as of February 2021, school officials continue to struggle with when, if, and how to safely open their classes again.

Coronavirus among US school children

  • In mid-September, around 56 million American schoolchildren returned to their classes amidst the pandemic based on estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC, 2020)
  • There had been 277,285 COVID-19 cases in children since March 2020. (CDC, 2020)
  • Coronavirus incidence among 5- to 11-year-old children are around less than half among teenagers aged 12- to 17-years-old. (CDC, 2020)
  • For every 100,000 children, the average weekly incidence among teenagers aged 12- to 17-years-old was 37.4, while the rate was 19.0 among children aged 5- to 11-years-old. (CDC, 2020)
  • According to the CDC, the estimated cost of mitigation protocols may increase to as much as $442 for each student. (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2020)
  • From June 19 to 23, 2020, a study found that there were around 14 million children who live in households with inadequate food supply as a result of the widespread lockdowns (EPI, 2020)
  • From May 31 to July 5, 2020, the weekly percentage of positive COVID-19 test results among school-aged children rose from 10% to 14%. (CDC, 2020)
  • The CDC reports that school-aged children diagnosed with malignant coronavirus-related outcomes, such as death (33%), admission to an intensive care unit (38%), and hospitalization (23%), had a minimum of a single underlying symptom. (CDC, 2020)

coronavirus among U.S. children

Impact on American schools

  • As the first wave of COVID-19 engulfed the world, more than 50 million American schoolchildren below 18 years old were ordered to stay at their homes as schools across the US closed. (EPI, 2020)
  • As of January 2021, American schools were either fully or partially closed for a total of 38 weeks as a result of COVID-19-related lockdowns. (UNESCO, 2021)
  • In July 2020, American schools opened in-person (39.8%), remote (14.1%), and hybrid (11.6%) methods. (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2020)
  • By August 2020, elementary schools and high schools opened their campuses remotely (25.8%), hybrid method (12%), and in-person (48.9%). (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2020)
  • As of August 2020, around 50% of all US school districts were already preparing to resume complete in-person learning modes. (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2020)
  • Students in cities and suburban districts are more likely to have access to 100% in-person learning modalities than those in rural areas. (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2020)
  • 81% of parents are anxious about the safety of their children due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure at school. (ED Choice, 2020)
  • However, the same number of parents are also concerned that their children’s studies will be adversely affected by school closures. (ED Choice, 2020)

Source: Center on Reinventing Public Education (2020)

2. Total Number of Schools in the US

The National Center for Education Statistics counted 132,853 elementary and secondary schools in the US (NCES, 2018) for 2015–16. Afterward, the agency noted a decline in the number of public schools. To be more specific, secondary and combined schools decreased. It is to be noted, however, that the number of elementary schools went up during this period. Here are some facts about American schools to start with.

  • Among those, 88,665 are elementary schools, and 26,986 are secondary schools. (ED Week, 2020)
  • Besides, there are 16,5111 combined schools and 691 other types of schools. (ED Week, 2020)
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Total Number of Schools in the US

Total Number of Schools in the US
Elementary Schools: 88,665

Elementary Schools

Total Number of Schools in the US
Secondary Schools: 26,986

Secondary Schools

Total Number of Schools in the US
Combined Schools: 16,511

Combined Schools

Total Number of Schools in the US
Other: 691


Source: NCES

Designed by

3. Number of US Schools by Type

In the US, there are three types of schools: traditional public schools, public charter schools, and private schools. Traditional public schools are widespread throughout the country and have the most students. But if you are wondering what to do after high school, here are some trade school college statistics to read. Moving on, these are the latest public school statistics together with private school numbers.

  • According to the 2017–18 survey, there are 98,158 traditional public schools in America. (NCES, 2018)
  • The US has 34,576 private schools. (CAPE, 2018)
  • The states with the most private schools are Miami (576), Texas (513), California (471), Illinois (464), and Pennsylvania (387). (Private School Review, 2021)
  • Among private schools, 21,548 are affiliated with religious organizations. (NCES, 2017)
  • There are 7,477 Roman Catholic private schools in the US, making up 21.7% of religious schools. (NCES, 2019)
  • The National Catholic Educational Association has the most number of schools (5,331) associated with it. Next is the Association of Christian Schools International (2,745). (NCES, 2017)
  • The religious association with the least number of affiliated schools is Solomon Schechter Day School Association (39). (NCES, 2017)

Teacher and Student Data

  • In 2020, there were around 486,000 teachers in private elementary and secondary schools in the US, while those teaching in public elementary and secondary schools totaled 3,184,000. (Statista, 2020)
  • For the same year, the student-teacher ratio in public elementary and secondary schools in the US was 15.9, while it was 11.8 in private elementary and secondary schools. (Statista, 2020)
  • The student-teacher ratio in public elementary and secondary schools in the US was predicted to be at 15.9 in 2020, while the ratio in private elementary and secondary schools was 11. (Statista, 2020)
  • By 2029, there will be around 520,000 teachers in private elementary and secondary schools in the US, while there will be 3,390,000 teachers in public elementary and secondary schools in America. (Statista, 2020)

Charter Schools

Charter schools in the US are a special case. They are public schools that can run independently to allow educators to innovate. Minnesota spearheaded the change, and other states quickly followed.

  • 43 states and the District of Columbia have charter schools. (Public Charter, 2020)
  • In 2020, the national count of charter schools was 7,000. (Public Charter, 2020)

4. Elementary and Secondary Enrollment Statistics

There were 49.8 million students enrolled in K-12 in 2018 (Statistical Atlas, 2018). Males exceeded females in all grade levels, and Caucasians exceeded other ethnicities in all grades as well.

  • In 2019, around 56.4 million students were enrolled in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the US. (NCES, 2019)
  • Of these, 5.7 million students attended private schools, while 50.7 million studied in public schools. (NCES, 2019)
  • For all public school students, there were 1.4 million prekindergarten students, 3.7 million kindergarten students, 35.5 million elementary and middle school students, and 15.3 million high school students. (NCES, 2019)
  • In terms of student ethnicity and race, the projected total enrollment from prekindergarten to grade 12 in 2019 were 23.4 million White students, 14.0 million Hispanic students, 7.6 million Black students, 2.8 million Asian students, 2.3 million students of 2 or more races, 0.5 million American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 0.2 million Pacific Islander students. (NCES, 2019)
  • In addition, the forecasted total enrollment in 2028 for public K-12 schools is 51.4 million students. (NCES, 2019)

Source: NCES (2019)

  • The predicted expenditure per student for both public elementary and public high schools for the 2019-2020 school year was $13,440. (NCES, 2019)
  • Likewise, for the same school year, the total projected expenditures for both public elementary and high schools was $680 billion. (NCES, 2019)
  • In terms of academic personnel, the projected total number of teachers for 2019-2020 was 3.7 million. (NCES , 2019)
  • Of these, 3.2 million teachers taught in public schools, while 0.5 million teachers were in private K-12 institutions. (NCES , 2019)
  • Further, the projected number of students who have graduated from high school for the 2019-2020 school year was 3.7 million. (NCES, 2019)
  • This projection included almost 0.4 million students who graduated from private schools and the bulk of 3.3 million students from public schools. (NCES, 2019)

Source: NCES (December 2019)

5. Number of School Districts in the US

The United States education system is divided into school districts. Likewise, the type of school district depends on the school levels in an area, the cost, or the formation of the district itself. Here are some facts that can give you insights into school districts.

  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were approximately 13,551 regular public school districts for the 2017-2018 scho0l year in the US. (NCES, 2020)
  • By 2019, the total number of American public school districts increased to around 16,800. (Education Data, 2019)
  • When enrollment levels decrease in an area, school districts tend to blend or consolidate different schools. Because of the continued decline in enrollment, the number of combined schools in 2000 of 12,197 had increased to 15,804 by 2018. (Education Data, 2019)
  • As of 2021, the largest school district is the Los Angeles Unified School District, with a total of 785 schools and 495,255 students. (Niche, 2021)
  • Chicago Public Schools is the second biggest school district in the US, with 658 schools and 359,476 students. (Niche, 2021)
  • The third-largest school district in the US is Miami-Dade County Public Schools, with 510 schools and 350,434 students. (Niche, 2021)
  • According to online reviews, Glenbrook High Schools District 225 in Glenview, IL, is the best school district in America. It has a total of four schools and approximately 5,100 students. (Niche, 2021)

Average School Size

How do cities and rural locations measure up to the national average? A look at the data reveals that suburbs expectedly outsize other locations in terms of public school enrolment.

  • The US national average student size of public schools is approximately 520 students. (Public School Review, 2021)
  • Among states, Georgia takes the top spot with 764 average public school student size. (Public School Review, 2021)
  • Montana has the lowest average public school student size at just 177. (Public School Review, 2021)

number of U.S. school districts

6. Schools with Online Courses

The Office of Educational Technology opened in 1994 (Office Of Educational Technology, n.d.) to facilitate the use of various technological innovations in teaching and learning. The government agency has spearheaded policy-making in the arena, as eLearning is now widespread in the US.

This US-wide technology-based initiative has met unforeseen challenges when COVID-19 emerged, putting both families and school administrators in a dilemma. While some parents do not want their children to go back to their schools, others are concerned that their children are lagging in their studies so they must return to their classrooms to catch up. School officials, for their part, are faced with the challenge of providing enough technological infrastructure to address the sudden requirement.

  • A total of 48 states and the District of Columbia support online learning. (US Department of Education, n.d.)
  • There are seven full-time online schools. States operate three, districts operate the same number, and a charter operates one. (US Department of Education, n.d.)
  • As early as the 2000s, Village Green Virtual Charter High School introduced the blended learning model and experienced a radical change. After implementation, it has a 97% graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate. (eSchool News, 2017)
  • Recently, rated Huntley High School as the number 1 among schools that use blended learning. (, 2021)

Online, In-person, & Hybrid instructions during COVID-19

  • In 2020, a Pew Research study found that 54% of parents of K-12 students who receive 100% in-person instruction tend to be highly satisfied with how their schools are managing instruction during the coronavirus pandemic. (Pew Research, 2020)
  • The same high satisfaction was reported by 27% of parents whose children receive a combined online and in-person instruction and 30% of those with children who receive only online instruction. (Pew Research, 2020)
  • The same study found that 70% of parents with children receiving either purely online learning or mixed with in-person instruction say that they or another family member give extra materials or instruction on areas not provided by the school. (Pew Research, 2020)
  • On the other hand, only 52% of parents whose children receive purely in-person instruction say that they still provide additional materials or instructions. (Pew Research, 2020)
  • 45% of parents whose kids only attend in-person instruction are highly satisfied with how the schools are taking precautionary measures against COVID-19. (Pew Research, 2020)
  • Income-based disparities also emerged in the study. For instance, 72% of lower-income parents tend to be more concerned about the pandemic’s adverse impact on their children’s academic progress.
  • The same perception is true only to 55% of higher-income and 63% of middle-income parents. (Pew Research, 2020)
  • And when it comes to offering additional learning materials or instruction, 72% of lower-income parents are more likely to augment what the school provides compared to 58% of higher-income parents. (Pew Research, 2020)
  • Still, parents belonging to the higher-income group say that they employed a tutor or another person to provide supplementary teaching or materials to their children. (Pew Research, 2020)
  • In addition, 20% of parents whose children still go to in-person instruction tend to be highly concerned about the high risk of their kids getting COVID-19 infection; 62% are somewhat concerned. (Pew Research, 2020)
  • Because of the pandemic, most parents say that they are more concerned about several aspects of their children’s lives. These include enjoying access to extracurricular activities (58%), their emotional health (59%), keeping friendships and social connections (60%), and being given excessive screen time (63%). (Pew Research, 2020)
  • Moreover, 31% of parents say they are now more concerned that their kids spend comparatively more unsupervised periods of time, while 52% are apprehensive because their children are not having adequate exercise because of the pandemic. (Pew Research, 2020)

Source: Pew Research (2020)

7. Special Education Schools in the US

Other than regular elementary and secondary schools, there are also schools for children with special needs. One of the driving forces behind special education is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This is a federal law that enables organizations to offer educational services to children with disabilities.

General Special Education Statistics

  • There are 13 categories of disabilities. Children with any of these are eligible for special education. (LD Online, 2008)
  • Individuals with special needs from birth until the age of 21 can receive support from districts and states. (Office of Special Education Programs, 2019)
  • For the 2017–18 school year, 13.2% of students were special needs individuals. (ED Week, 2019)
  • Based on NCES estimates, 7 million disabled individuals received special education under IDEA during the school year 2017–18. (NCES, 2020)
  • Likewise, 34% of students aged three to 21 that IDEA served had a specific learning disability. (NCES, 2020)

Demographics and Inclusivity

  • In 2016, 95% of students with special needs spent part of their school day in regular classes. Meanwhile, 63% went to regular school 80% of the time. (US Department of Education, 2018)
  • Students with special needs were 23 times more likely to receive one-on-one instruction in regular classes. (US Department of Education, 2018)
  • For the school year 2017–18, most individuals IDEA helped were white, numbering 3,409,308. (NCES, 2019)
  • For the same period, Pacific Islanders had the least number of individuals assisted by IDEA with just 20,807. (NCES, 2019)
  • Compared to other states, Indiana has 3,043 students with a developmental delay. (Indiana Department of Education, 2019)
  • In Indiana, $9,156 is given per pupil with severe disabilities. (Indiana Department of Education, 2019)

Special Needs Education Costs

School districts across the United States have prioritized in-person access for special needs students and school children.

  • The total number of American students enrolled in special education programs has increased by 30% over the past decade. (National Education Association, 2020)
  • Almost 60% of American school districts provided complete in-person learning for elementary students. (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2020)
  • Students with disabilities had priority access to in-person learning modes in hybrid or remote school districts. (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2020)
  • Around 7 million school children with disabilities are given special education services in public K-12 schools throughout the US. (National Education Association, 2020)
  • Under federal law, the government is committed to spending 40% of the average special education cost per student with disabilities. (National Education Association, 2020)
  • In St. Louis, Missouri, the most expensive primary school costs $35,500 a year. It specializes in teaching children with disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD. (Biz Journals, 2019)
  • The average cost per student is $7,552 currently and there is an additional $9,369 for every special needs student. (National Education Association, 2020)
  • The federal government provides less than 20% of the cost rather than the 40% pledged by the law, which had led to numerous lawsuits across the US. (National Education Association, 2020)
  • For instance, in 2017–18, there were 4,854 due process cases filed in California. These were disputes for children’s special education placement. (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2019)

special education in the U.S.

8. Costs of Going to Elementary and Secondary Schools in the US

Public K-12 schools are mostly free. The only fees parents have to pay are extracurricular ones. But even those can be optional. Meanwhile, private schools have high fees, which can include trips in and out of the country. There are also boarding schools. These are private schools where students room and board for most of the school year.

Public Schools

  • Full-day kindergarten, in some states, cost $1,000 to $5,000 a year. This is because states usually fund traditional half-day programs only. (Vocational Training HQ, 2021)
  • On the other hand, public elementary schools are completely free. But there are extra fees that cost anywhere from $10 to $3,500. (Vocational Training HQ, 2021)
  • In addition, extracurricular activities in public schools drive up annual costs. For instance, a school district in Huber Heights, Ohio, has a student athletics fee of $750 per annum. (Public School Review, 2019)

Private Schools

  • Private elementary schools have tuitions ranging from $2,000 to $50,000 per year. (Vocational Training HQ, 2021)
  • The average private elementary school tuition is $9,946 annually. (Private School Review, 2021)
  • And for private high schools, the average tuition is $14,711 per year. (Private School Review, 2021)
  • Connecticut has the highest average tuition for private schooling at $24,481 annually. (Private School Review, 2021)
  • On the other hand, Nebraska has the least expensive private school tuition average at $3,564 per year. (Private School Review, 2021)
  • Boarding schools also cost $35,000 to $60,000 per year. (Army and Navy Academy, 2020)
  • The average tuition of a boarding school for a US citizen is $56,875 annually. (Boarding School Review, 2020)

Source: Vocational Training, Private School Review, Boarding School Review

Adopting New Education Technology is a Boon

With COVID-19 restricting in-person teaching modes everywhere, American schools had turned to education technologies to achieve continuity in K-12 learning. This further solidifies the case to a more serious shift to technology-based pedagogies which many school districts had been experimenting with prior to the pandemic.

However, that is not to say that implementation will be without challenges. But with the help of the best learning management software, it can be as smooth-sailing as possible. Although these are meant to optimize students’ learning, they are also intended to make teachers’ jobs easier. Regarding this, educators can have an easier time tracking the progress of students.

Moreover, there are productivity tools that students, teachers, and administrators can utilize. Take, for example, task management software. These are all-around applications that users can employ for school and work. By using these, they can keep track of the things they need to do. Additionally, these apps can alert them when a deadline is upcoming.

These numbers say several things about educational statistics and enrollment levels in the US. However, other warning signs are on the horizon. For example, policymakers need to find out why young adults today have reasons not to go to college statistics.



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James Anthony

By James Anthony

A senior FinancesOnline writer on SaaS and B2B topics, James Anthony passion is keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge practices (other than writing personal blog posts on why Firefly needs to be renewed). He has written extensively on these two subjects, being a firm believer in SaaS to PaaS migration and how this inevitable transition would impact economies of scale. With reviews and analyses spanning a breadth of topics from software to learning models, James is one of FinancesOnline’s most creative resources on and off the office.

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