Back-to-School Stats: Education in America By The Numbers

Think you spent a lot on school supplies this year? Check out how much we as a nation put toward school clothes and books.

Heading back to school is a numbers game.

Three kids can mean two schools, two bus routes, three sets of school supplies, four or more trips to the mall for clothes, $50-$200 for athletic participation ... and the list goes on.

To help you put things in perspective (and maybe feel a touch better about spending $100 on school supplies) we've compiled these back-to-school statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.


$7.4 billion - The amount of money spent at family clothing stores in August 2010. Similarly, sales at bookstores in August 2010 totaled $2.2 billion, an amount approached in 2010 only by sales in January.

28,429 – The number of family clothing stores in the U.S. in 2008. There were also 7,349 children and infants clothing stores, 28,178 shoe stores, 9,373 office supply and stationery stores, 22,116 sporting goods stores, 9,708 bookstores and 8,813 department stores.


77 million – The number of children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in October 2009, from nursery school to college. That's 27 percent of the entire population age 3 and older.
74 – The percentage of children age 3-6 enrolled in kindergarten who attended all day, as of October 2009.

55.5 million – The projected number of students to be enrolled in the nation's elementary through high schools (prekindergarten-12th grade) this fall.
11 – Projected percentage of elementary through high school students (prekindergarten-12th grade) enrolled in private schools this fall.
43 – Percentage of elementary through high school students who belonged to a minority population as of October 2009.
23 – Percentage of elementary through high school students who had at least one foreign-born parent in October 2009.

31.3 million – Average number of children participating each month in the National School Lunch Program in 2009.
9.21 billion – The nation's total apple production, in pounds, in 2010. The chances are good that the apples your children present to their
teachers or enjoy for lunch were grown in Washington state, which accounted for more than half of the nation’s total production.
19.7 million – The projected number of students enrolled in the nation's colleges and universities this fall. This is up from 14.4 million 20 years ago.
16– Percentage of all college students 35 and older in October 2009. They made up 37 percent of those attending school part time.
50 – Percentage of 18- and 19-year-olds enrolled in college in 2009.
56 – Percentage of college students who were women in October 2009.
How Many Schools?
98,706 Number of public schools in 2008-09. In 2007-08, there were 33,740 private schools.
4,409 – Number of degree-granting institutions of higher education in 2008-09.
4,694 – The number of public charter schools nationwide in 2008-09. These schools, exempt from selected state and local rules and regulations, enrolled 1,433,116 students.

Teachers and Other School Personnel
7.2 million – Number of teachers in the United States in 2009. Almost three million taught at the elementary and middle school level. The remainder included those teaching at the postsecondary, secondary, preschool, kindergarten levels, special education and other teachers or instructors.
$16.44 – Average hourly wage for the nation's school bus drivers in 2008-09. Custodians earned $14.59, while cafeteria workers
made $11.94.
14.2 million
Number of computers available for classroom use in the nation's schools as of the 2005-06 school year. That works out to one computer for every four students.

Parental Involvement
89 – Among K-12 students, the percentage with a parent or other household member who attended a general school or PTO/PTA meeting during the 2006-07 school year. Additionally, 65 percent had such a relative who participated in school fundraising and 46 percent who volunteered to serve on a school committee.

3.2 million – Projected number of high school diplomas that will be awarded in the 2011-12 school year.

3.4 million - Number of college degrees expected to be conferred in the 2011-12 school year.


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