Latest U.S. Census Bureau Figures Show Increase in Homeschooling During Pandemic

The socio-economic trends among U.S. households, experienced since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, have been extensively studied through the United States Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. A recent analysis of the survey data sheds light on the educational landscape across the nation, focusing on homeschooling trends, the surge in homeschooling during the pandemic, and the current estimates of homeschoolers at both national and state levels.

National and State-Level Trends

The data collected from the survey between September 2022 and August 2023 reveal that nearly 6% of school-aged children in the U.S. were homeschooled during the 2022–23 academic year. This contrasts with 10% in private schools and 84% in public schools. The surge in homeschooling, from pre-pandemic levels of 2.8% in 2019, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), indicates a growing interest in alternative education models.

Differences in homeschooling rates across states are considerable. Alaska leads with 12.6% of homeschooled children, followed by Tennessee (9%) and West Virginia (8.9%). Conversely, Rhode Island (2.9%), Massachusetts (3.1%), and New York (3.2%) report the lowest rates. These variations may stem from regional differences and state attitudes towards homeschooling. The Household Pulse Survey data also show enrollment estimates that differ slightly from NCES and state figures, indicating the need for accurate and adaptive data collection methods.

Demographic Differences

The survey reveals demographic insights into homeschooling families that are often missing from official data. Among households with homeschooled students, 19% are Hispanic or Latino, 60% are white, 12% are Black, 2% are Asian, and 7% identify as two or more races. The educational attainment of homeschooling parents varies, with 27% holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, 33% some college education, 29% a high school diploma or GED, and 11% less than high school education.

In terms of income, homeschooling families span the economic spectrum, with 49% earning less than $100,000 annually and 23% earning more. These figures challenge the perception that homeschooling is exclusive to wealthier families, as homeschoolers’ reported income levels are on par with or lower than those of public-school families.

Implications and the Path Forward

The Household Pulse Survey underscores the diverse nature of the U.S. education system, reflecting a shift towards non-traditional education models. While some discrepancies exist between the survey and other data sources like NCES, further analysis is needed to enhance accuracy. As we navigate changing educational landscapes, understanding and supporting diverse educational choices is critical for an inclusive and effective education system.

The Census Bureau’s ongoing release of data from the survey will provide valuable insights into school enrollment for the 2023–24 academic year, aiding in the ongoing examination of educational trends and needs.

Genevieve Smith is a research assistant at the Homeschool Research Lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Education. Angela R. Watson is an assistant professor at the Institute for Education Policy and director of the Homeschool Hub.

The post New U.S. Census Bureau Data Confirm Growth in Homeschooling Amid Pandemic appeared first on Education Next.

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