When School Opens, White Students will Drop Below 50% for First Time

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
(AP Photo)

America’s public schools will open this fall to a new reality: Minorities will outnumber white children for the first time.


In 1997, white student enrollment was 63.4% in schools, or 29.2 million kids, according to the Pew Research Center. Now, that total is expected to fall to 49.7%, with 24.9 million white students in classrooms, Pew determined after analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau.


The change has been the result of a 15% decline in white student enrollment since 1997 and significant jumps in Hispanic and Asian student numbers over the same period. Hispanic students have nearly doubled in number, to 12.9 million, while the total of Asians soared 46% to 2.6 million. The black student population (7.7 million) has mostly stayed the same.


Pew noted that most of the growth in Hispanic and Asian children has come from U.S.-born kids. “From 1997 to 2013, the number of Hispanic children ages 5 to 17 born in the U.S. jumped 98%, while the group’s immigrant population of the same age declined by 26%. Among Asians of this age, the number of U.S.-born Asians increased 50% during this time, and the immigrant population increased a more modest 9%,” Pew’s Jens Manuel Krogstad and Richard Fry reported.


The Census Bureau estimates that high birthrates among the Hispanic population will result in whites falling into minority status by 2043.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Dept. of Ed. Projects Public Schools will be ‘Majority-minority’ this Fall (by Jens Manuel Krogstad and Richard Fry, Pew Research Center)

Projections of Education Statistics to 2022 (National Center for Education Statistics) (pdf)

White Students to No Longer be Majority at School (by Kimberly Hefling and Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press)


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