Number of Homeschoolers in the USA
Updated August 16, 2016
Home school statistics. This is the most current estimate on homeschooling families in the U.S. The list of homeschooled kids by state is a work in progress, updated frequently with additional home education statistics as they are discovered. Homeschool statistics can be fraught with errors. A discussion of the miscounting of homeschoolers is appended below. This is an early estimate, and will be updated frequently as new numbers of homeschoolers are reported and the Census updates its numbers of school-aged children.
- How Many Children are Homeschooled?
- Miscounting of Homeschoolers
- Is Homeschooling Growing?
- Change in Growth Rate
- Fewer School-aged Children
- Additional Resources for Numbers of Homeschoolers
I use the census data from the Census Bureau to get state populations, and PEPSYASEX-Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Single Year of Age and Sex for the United States, States, and Puerto Rico Commonwealth: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 for the number of children in each state ages 5-17 to calculate the number of school-aged children in each state. This database is included in the Excel file. Note that the current spreadsheet only uses the 2015 data, as there was no more recent estimate available from the Census Bureau.
I then used what data I had on registered homeschoolers from those states that require registration to figure out what percentage of the school-aged population in those states were homeschooled and that the average percentage of those states was 2.71% in 2015-16. See my Demographics page for what exact data I do have.
My numbers are based on the 11 states that currently or in the past have posted the numbers of homeschoolers on their official sites, so I am using their average growth rate, and assuming it applies in other states. This probably isn’t accurate to assume, but is all I have to use. If you would like to “play around” with these numbers, add new data, etc., here is my updated Excel Spreadsheet, DemographicStateComparison-2016.xls.
These numbers are just a statistical estimate. Many things seem to influence how many home schooled children are educated at home in each US state, and a variety of influences will make the numbers a little high or a little low:
- Perception of whether or not schools in state are good or bad;
- Ease of complying with homeschool laws in a state;
- In a number of states homeschoolers do not register, either because they need not or will not. California and Texas are two of them;
- I include all students ages 5-17. Many families homeschool children younger or older than the compulsory age range in their states. These students would not be counted on official homeschool demographics reports;
- Some states and cities have better support organizations and more outreach than others;
- States with a higher ratio of children to adults will have more homeschoolers;
- I cannot say that this data will age well. Homeschooling grew during good economic times. Whether or not this trend will continue to hold true during the economic ups and downs remains to be seen;
- A 2.71% growth probably does not hold true for each grade level in every state;
- The 2.71% growth rate is only used to calculate states with unverifiable numbers. Eleven states use real data, or numbers based on growth from past data. See the spreadsheet;
- We cannot all agree on what constitutes a “real” homeschooler! What sort of homeschoolers are tracked by each state may vary considerably.
You can find the approximate number of homeschooled kids in your state in the following table.
|State||Total # Kids Ages 5-17 in 2015-16||2015-16 Homeschoolers (Estimate)||2016-2017 Homeschoolers (Estimate)|
Change in Growth Rate
Fewer School-aged Children
Does this mean families are less interested in homeschooling than before? No, only that there are fewer school age children than in previous years.
Notice how the number of children in elementary school starts to dip in 2005, and how the total number has rather leveled off in recent times? That homeschooling is growing when there are even fewer children, is in itself amazing! Our growth rate in 2013 (from 2012) averaged around 7.6%, while public school enrollment was nearly stable.
Home schooled numbers change in the rate of growth, however, has been declining, right along with the birth rates. But it took a sudden turn upward when the economy tanked. Many families can no longer afford private schools, and so have turned to homeschooling. Others may have decided to home school when one parent lost their job and could stay home and teach. Why homeschooling has taken a sharp increase in 2013, I don’t know.
Additional Resources for Numbers of Homeschoolers
What the U.S. Census says about homeschool families (Julie Mack blog)
Three percent of American students — about 1.5 million children — are homeschooled, according to the 2012 Statistical Abstract recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census, which relies on data from 2007, also offers a sense of what kind of families choose homeschooling: Compared to the American school parents as a whole, homeschool parents are more likely to be white and have a four-year college degree, and have a household of two parents and at least three children. (Note: my estimate is based on the number of children, ages 5-17, in each state in the summer of 2012.)
Home School Statistics
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics
Date Verified: 4.28.2013
NCES. Table 206.10. Number and percentage of homeschooled students ages 5 through 17
With a grade equivalent of kindergarten through 12th grade, by selected child, parent, and household characteristics: 2003, 2007, and 2012.