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Look At the Numbers!

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Fifty-two million kids are heading back to school! The numbers are staggering -- and they offer an excellent practical opportunity to reinforce chart-reading and math skills in grades 2 and up!
Student skills masters included!

It's back to school time for 52.4 million students! That's how many students-kindergarten through grade 12-will be enrolled this fall across the United States, according to statistics published by the National Center for Education Statistics.

That's a lot of new school lunchboxes and notebooks!

This year's K-12 enrollment is the largest enrollment ever, up about 700,000 from last year. Last year's enrollment was slightly higher that the previous peak of 51.3 million students reached in the fall of 1971.

Check out the chart below for a detailed look at the K-12 enrollment numbers over the years.

NEW! SKILLS PRACTICE PAGES

No, kids, you're not alone! Millions of other students are heading back to school this month. You'll be amazed at the numbers!

Teachers, check out the special skills pages that we've created for your students to accompany this back-to-school news. Just print out and reproduce the skills practice page that's appropriate for your grade level to provide for your students some practical practice in table reading and math based on U.S. school enrollment figures. Click on the page below created especially for your students! (The Answer Keys for these activity pages appear below.)

Skills Practice for Students in Grades 2-3
Skills Practice for Students in Grades 4-5
Skills Practice for Students in Grades 6 and Up

A HISTORY OF K-12 SCHOOL ENROLLMENT IN THE UNITED STATES

THE YEAR TOTAL K-12 ENROLLMENT
IN THE U.S.
1899 16,855,000
1909 19,372,000
1919 23,278,000
1929 28,329,000
1939 28,045,000
1949 28,492,000
1959 40,857,000
1969 51,050,000
1971* 51,271,000
1974 50,073,000
1979 46,651,000
1984 44,908,000
1989 45,898,000
1994 49,705,000
1997 52,400,000
1999 53,342,000

Source: Digest of Education Statistics 1996 (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics)
* Highest recorded enrollment prior to 1996.

Notes: Beginning in the fall of 1980, data includes an expanded universe of private schools. Data for 1899 to 1949 include resident degree-candidate students enrolled at any time during the academic year. Beginning in 1959, data include all residents and extension students enrolled at the beginning of the fall term. 1994 figure based on preliminary data. 1997 and 1999 data are projected.

SCHOOL ENROLLMENT FACTS FROM THE CENSUS BUREAU

Following are a few school enrollment facts from the folks at the Census Bureau that might be of interest.

  • Nursery school enrollments are not included in the above data but, in October 1995, 4.4 million children were enrolled in nursery school. That translates to nearly half (45 percent) of 3- and 4-year-olds, considerably higher than the one-tenth enrolled in 1968.

  • Forty-one percent of the nation's families, or nearly 30 million, had at least one child aged 5 to 17 enrolled in kindergarten, elementary school, or high school in October 1995.

  • About 4 million children attended kindergarten in October 1995.

  • About 32 million children were enrolled in elementary school (grades 1-8) in October 1995-not significantly different from 1994, but nearly 5 million more than a decade earlier.

  • Eleven percent of elementary students attended a private school, down from 15 percent in 1963.

  • By 1995, about 15 million students were enrolled in high school, roughly 300,000 more than in 1994.

  • Eight percent of high school students attended private schools, down from 10 percent in 1963.

  • Many high school students held down a job during the school year: more than a quarter (26 percent) aged 15 and over were employed and 3 percent worked full time in October 1995.

  • During the year beginning October 1994, 5 percent of all high school students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades dropped out of school.

ANSWER KEYS

Skills Practice 2-3.
1. 52 million, 2. 5 years ago, 3. 51 million, 4. more, 5. 20 years ago. Thinking Question. 1 million; subtract 52 - 51 to get the answer.

Skills Practice 4-5.
1. 52,000,000; 2. 45,000,000; 3. 7,000,000; 4. 1927, 1937, and 1947; 5. 1977; 6. 33,000,000; 7. 1967; 8. 1967; 9. 4,000,000; 10. 1957.

Skills Practice 6+.
1. 52,400,000; 2. 45,500,000; 3. 6,900,000; 4. 1927; 5. 1977; 6. 33,000,000; 7. 1967; 8. 1977; 9. 36,490,000; 10. Check students' work.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1997, 2005Education World

09/01/1997
Updated 07/19/2005