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 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 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.