September 17, 2008

Story Ideas: College Enrollment

So maybe look at how Virginia, Maryland and DC size up.

From the U.S. Census Bureau, Sept.. 17, 2008

College Enrollment Up 17 Percent Since 2000

Enrollment in two- and four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. reached 20.5 million in 2006, up 3 million since 2000. This included 17.1 million undergraduates and 3.4 million students in graduate or professional schools.

These statistics are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s School Enrollment in the United States: 2006, a report that describes the characteristics of the nation’s 79 million students in 2006.

This is the first school enrollment report from the Census Bureau to use data from both the Current Population Survey (on which previous reports have been based) and the American Community Survey. Incorporating these data result in new state-by-state comparisons of enrollment characteristics while preserving the historical comparisons of school enrollment.

In 2006, there were more students in college and high school, but fewer in nursery school, kindergarten and elementary school, than in 2000. This change reflects the composition of school enrollment by age in the United States for that time period.

Other findings:

  • More than half of undergraduates (56 percent) – as well as 59 percent of graduate students – were women.
  • In 2006, 4.7 million children age 3 and over were enrolled in nursery school or preschool. Among 3-year-olds, 41 percent were enrolled in nursery school, compared with 60 percent of 4-year-olds. Children 5 and older made up 12 percent of nursery school students.
  • The West reported the lowest percentage of native non-Hispanic white students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade (44 percent), while the Midwest reported the highest (72 percent). The highest percentage of native-born, single-race black elementary school students was in the South
  • (23 percent), and the West reported the highest percentage of native-born, single-race Asian students (5.8 percent).
  • California (50 percent), Nevada (36 percent) and New York (33 percent) had the highest percentages of students with at least one foreign-born parent, while West Virginia and Mississippi were among the lowest at 2.5 percent.
  • In California, Texas and New Mexico, one-third or more of students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade spoke a language other than English at home. By contrast, about 3 percent of students in Mississippi spoke a language other than English at home.


The data in this report are from the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS). Statistics from surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. For more information on the source of the data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard errors and confidence intervals, see Appendix G at

Note: See for further information on the accuracy of the 2006 American Community Survey data.

Note from the Census Bureau: The report can be accessed at

Contact: Tom Edwards

Public Information Office

301-763-3030/763-3762 (fax)


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