Skip to Content
/ Articles / Education /

School Enrollment Rises Slightly in 2021

by US Census Bureau

Dec 22, 2022

The enrollment rate at U.S. schools rose slightly between 2020 and 2021, as approximately 1% more people under age 35 enrolled in school, according to data tables released Wednesday from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

Preschool Enrollment

Preschool enrollment among children ages 3 to 4 rose substantially from 40% in 2020 to just over 50% in 2021. Enrollment did not return to its pre-pandemic 2019 level of 54%.

Total enrollment in preschool rose from 3.5 million in 2020 to 4.3 million in 2021.

Elementary and Secondary Enrollment

Total enrollment in kindergarten rose from 3.7 million in 2020 to 4 million in 2021. The estimated enrollment of kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment by race and Hispanic origin was statistically unchanged from 2020 to 2021.

  • Non-Hispanic White alone: 50%.
  • Hispanic of any race: 25%.
  • Black or African American alone: 15%.
  • Asian alone: 5%.

College Enrollment

College enrollment remained low in 2021, with total college enrollment of 17.3 million, falling below pre-pandemic levels for the second straight year.

  • Despite a similar level of high school graduation for 18- to 24-year-olds (approximately 89% in both 2021 and 2020), college enrollment declined for this group, from 40% in 2020 to 38% in 2021.
  • In 2021, 53% of college students were non-Hispanic White alone, 20% were Hispanic of any race, 16% were Black alone, and 9% were Asian alone.
  • Employment patterns among college students shifted slightly in 2021. More part-time students worked full time than in 2020 (61%, up from 57%), while the number of full- time students who work at all remained relatively stable (44% in 2021, compared to 43% in 2020).

Detailed tabulations, related information and historic data are available on the Census Bureau’s School Enrollment page.

The Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the primary source of labor force statistics for the U.S. population.

We need your support!

Your contribution makes community media possible.

A donation of any size to your nonprofit media organization supports the future of media access in our community - the things you love, and the places you care about, by the people you know.

Live Streaming