U.S. School Enrollment Dropped By Nearly 3 Million In 2020 Amid Pandemic – Forbes

Topline

Enrollment in U.S. schools fell in every age group in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census, with the sharpest decline among children ages 3 and 4.

Key Facts

The Census Bureau found that student enrollment, ranging from age 3 to the college level, dropped by 2.9 million in the U.S. as of October 2020 compared to the year before.

Enrollment among all Americans under 35 fell to 52.4% of the total population, the lowest figure in over 20 years.

Enrollment of children ages 3 and 4 dropped from 54% of that age group in 2019 to 40% in 2020, as many parents elected to hold their pre-kindergarten children out from both in-person and remote classrooms.

Enrollment for children ages 3 and 4 with working mothers fell by 35% compared to just a 10% drop for other enrolled kids of the same age.

High school attendance dipped a relatively small 0.8%.

College enrollment dipped by 3.4%  to its lowest figure in 14 years, though much of the decline came from two-year colleges; graduate school enrollment did not shift significantly.

Big Number

1.5 million: the decline in the number of children enrolled in nursery schools and kindergarten in 2020 compared to 2019—making up over half of the overall decline.

What We Don’t Know

This data could point to an inability for parents to afford to send their children to nursery school amid the financial collapse following the pandemic, or that parents who are now working from home were able to watch their children without assistance from nursery schools.

Key Background

Census data from March shows that homeschooling reported in households doubled following the pandemic, jumping from 5.4% in April of 2020 to 11.1% in October of 2020. “Pandemic pods” and private homeschooling programs were cited as substitutes for remote learning.

What To Watch For

With in-person learning having resumed across the country, will  enrollment numbers return to their 2019 rates, or has the pandemic had a lingering impact on the number of parents who choose to skip pre-k or home school older children.

Further Reading

What The Digital Shift Means For Higher Education (Forbes)

Source

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