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59 Vital American School Statistics for 2020: Types, Districts & Courses

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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 the only solution to the country, even to the world’s problems. But while the number of students in the US is increasing, the number of schools catering to them is decreasing. Specifically, this is true of the number of combined and secondary schools in the school year 2016–17.

That may be alarming, but there is a bright side. Below are American school statistics that give an idea of the current state of American education.

school statistics

1. Total Number of Schools in the US

The National Center for Education Statistics counted 132,853 elementary and secondary schools in the US 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. (Education Week, 2019)
  • Besides, there are 16,5111 combined schools and 691 other types of schools. (Education Week, 2019)
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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

2. 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, 2019)
  • The US has 34,576 private schools. (CAPE, 2020)
  • The states with the most private schools are Miami (576), Texas (513), California (471), Illinois (464), and Pennsylvania (387). (Private School Review, 2020)
  • Among private schools, 21,548 are affiliated with religious organizations. (Private School Universe Survey, 2018)
  • There are 7,477 Roman Catholic private schools in the US, making up 21.7% of religious schools. (Private School Universe Survey, 2018)
  • 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). (Private School Universe Survey, 2018)
  • The religious association with the least number of affiliated schools is Solomon Schechter Day School Association (39). (Private School Universe Survey, 2018)

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.

US public vs private schools

3. Elementary and Secondary Enrollment Statistics

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

  • Kindergarteners and preschoolers made up 1.36% and 1.62% of the total school enrollment, respectively. (Statistical Atlas, 2018)
  • 32.8 million students enrolled in grades 1-8 in 2018. (Statistical Atlas, 2018)
  • 17 million students enrolled in high school in 2018. (Statistical Atlas, 2018)
  • 2.82 million students matriculated in private elementary schools in 2018. (US Census Bureau, 2018)
  • In the same year, there were 29.67 million pupils enrolled in public elementary institutions. (US Census Bureau, 2018)
  • 15.52 million students went to public high schools in 2018. (US Census Bureau, 2018)
  • And at the same period, 1.19 million attended private high schools. (US Census Bureau, 2018)

Source: US Census Bureau 2018

4. Number of School Districts in the US

There are 13,568 school districts in the US. There are different kinds of districts. It 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.

  • Texas has the most school districts with 1,035. (Ballotpedia, 2020)
  • Hawaii has the least number of school districts with just 1. (Ballotpedia, 2020)
  • California has the most enrollees in America with 6 million. (Ballotpedia, 2020)
  • Washington, D.C. has the fewest students with 76,000 enrollees only. (Ballotpedia, 2020)
  • In California, the Los Angeles Unified School District is the largest with 1,012 schools. (Niche, 2020)
  • 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, 2020)

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, 2020)
  • Among states, Georgia takes the top spot with 764 average public school student size. (Public School Review, 2020)
  • Montana has the lowest average public school student size at just 177. (Public School Review, 2020)

US school districts stats

5. Schools with Online Courses

The Office of Educational Technology opened in 1994 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.

  • 48 states and the District of Columbia support online learning. (Office of Educational Technology, 2020)
  • There are seven full-time online schools. States operate three, districts operate the same number, and a charter operates one.
  • (Office of Educational Technology, 2020)
  • Experts predicted that 50% of classes in K-12 would be blended by 2019. (USA Today, 2019)
  • Village Green Virtual Charter High School introduced the blended learning model in the early 2000s and experienced a radical change. After implementation, it has a 97% graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate. (eSchool News, 2017)
  • ranks Huntley High School ranked number 1 among the schools using blended learning. (, 2019)


6. 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, 2020)
  • Individuals with special needs from birth until the age of 21 can receive support from districts and states. (Office of Special Education Programs, 2020)
  • 7 million disabled individuals received special education under IDEA during the school year 2017–18. (NCES, 2019)
  • Overall, 13.2% of students in the 2017–18 school year were special needs individuals. (Education Week, 2019)
  • 34% of students aged three to 21 that IDEA served had a specific learning disability. (NCES, 2019)

Demographics and Inclusivity

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

Special Needs Education Costs

  • 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. (, 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, 2019)
  • The federal government provides less than 20% of the cost rather than the 40% pledged by the law. (National Education Association, 2019)
  • In 2017–18, there were 4,854 due process cases filed in California. These were disputes for children’s special education placement. (The San Diego Union-Tribune, 2019)

special needs students

7. 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, 2019)
  • Public elementary schools are completely free. But there are extra fees that cost anywhere from $10 to $3,500. (Vocational Training, 2019)
  • Extracurricular activities in public schools drive up annual costs. One 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, 2019)
  • The average private elementary school tuition is $9,946 annually. (Private School Review, 2020)
  • For private high schools, the average tuition is $14,711 per year. (Private School Review, 2020)
  • Connecticut has the highest average tuition for private schooling at $24,481 annually. (Private School Review, 2020)
  • Nebraska has the least expensive private school tuition average at $3,564 per year. (Private School Review, 2020)
  • Boarding schools cost $35,000 to $60,000 per year. (Army & 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

Adapting New Education Technology is a Boon

Devices like computers and tablets have become commonplace, and the Internet has become accessible. Consequently, education has evolved in the past decade. As a result, numerous schools in America augment teaching and learning with these new technologies. For instance, as shown in the school statistics above, Huntley High School uses blended learning to good effect. The same goes for Village Green Virtual Charter High School. Hence, it made a radical transformation in terms of graduation and college acceptance rates.

Therefore, new education technology is a boon. But that is not to say that implementation will be without challenges. However, 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.

Nestor Gilbert

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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