Homeschooling in the United States: 2003

Statistical Analysis Report
National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education
February 2006

This NCES summary of the state of homeschooling in America is based on an analysis of responses from the 2003 National Household Education Surveys Program. The report estimates that approximately 1.1 million U.S. students (2.2 percent of the student population) were homeschooled in 2003. This number is up a whopping 29 percent from 1999. If that rate of increase continues, the nation could have 3 million to 4 million homeschooled students in 2020. But such projections are beyond the scope of this report, which limits itself to presenting the current characteristics of homeschooled youngsters. For example, the study finds that white students-who make up 65 percent of the non-homeschooled population-compose 75 percent of homeschooled students. Unsurprising. Of greater interest: While the percentages of homeschooled White students rose between 1999 and 2003, so did the percentage of homeschooled Black students. (Gadfly has noted that many Black parents, fed-up with awful neighborhood schools, are now taking education matters into their own hands.) And why do parents homeschool their children? Thirty-one percent cite safety and other "environment" concerns as a top reason, 30 percent name religious or moral instruction, and 17 percent point to academics. But perhaps the most surprising statistic is that over 55 percent of homeschooled students have parents without a bachelor's degree. The report is full of other information from both 2003 and 1999. You can view it for yourself here.

Eric Osberg is a Vice President and Treasurer at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute