How Many Homeschoolers Are There in the USA?

Last August, a new study was released showing a continued increase in the number and percentage of students who are homeschooled in America.  The last time the U.S. government released data about the number of homeschooled students was back in 2007. Since I am doing a series about homeschooling in general (How to Start Homeschooling, Choosing homeschool curriculums, etc.), I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share some of the results of this study again. This information was based on a survey called the National Household Education Surveys Program.

How many homeschoolers are there?

In 2007, 2.9% of students were homeschooled. In 2011-2012, 3.4% of students were homeschooled.

In 2007, the number of homeschooled students was about 1.5 million. In 2011-2012 that number had increased to 1.77 million. [Dr. Brian Ray (2011) estimated (using methods different from those used by both government studies) that there were 2.04 million K-12 homeschool students in the United States in spring 2010. See this NHERI report for more information.]

Just so you know, this is about the same number of students as are enrolled in charter schools across the U.S.  According to the National Center for educational statistics there were 1.78 million students enrolled in charter schools in the 2010-2011 school year.

Where do homeschoolers live?

The rates of homeschooling were highest in rural areas where 4.5% of students were homeschooled.  The homeschooling rate was 3.2% in the city, 3.1% in the suburbs and 2.7% in towns.

What grades are the students who homeschool in?

One things that surprised me about the newly released statistics was that the homeschooling rate was actually higher in the upper grades. Just from conversations I’ve had with others, I had assumed that many people choose to homeschool in the younger grades and then put their children into traditional school (public or private schools) in middle school or high school.  I had it totally wrong!

The percentage of K-2 students who homeschooled was 3.1%.

The percentage of 3rd-5th grade students who homeschooled was 3.4%.

The percentage of 6th-8th grade students who homeschooled was 3.5%.

The percentage of 9th-12th grade students who homeschooled was 3.7%.

Overall, the vast majority of students in the U.S. attend public schools… based on some of the statistics I found,  a pie graph of U.S. students might look something like this:

 

You can take a closer look at the study and these statistics by going to NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics) pamphlet: Parent and Family Involvement in Education… 2012, Tables 7 and 8 (pages 27 and 28).

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You might also be interested in the post: Let’s Talk about Homeschool Successes which compares homeschoolers to their public schooled counterparts and talks about test-taking, graduation rates, etc

And you might be interested in our family’s answer to the question, “How Long Will You Keep Homeschooling?”

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