Home Current Education Statistics: Facts About Schools, Teachers, and Students

Current Education Statistics: Facts About Schools, Teachers, and Students

Updated April 2020. Reviewed by Jon Konen, District Superintendent

Note from EducationDegree.com editors: Many statistics are lagging data points because they are not collected annually or require more processing before they are published. We have attempted to report the most recent data available.

Statistics About Schools

How many K-12 schools are there in the U.S.?

As of the 2015-16 academic year, there were 98,277 public schools in the U.S. Of these, 66,758 were elementary schools, 24,040 were secondary schools (middle schools or high schools), and the remainder were combined or “other” schools. There were 34,576 private schools in the same reporting period.
Source: NCES Digest of Education Statistics, 2017

How many colleges and universities are there in the U.S.?

There were 7,416 Title IV degree-granting institutions in the U.S. in 2012-13. (Title IV institutions participate in federal student financial aid programs.) This number includes 3,110 four-year institutions, 2,263 two-year institutions, and 2,043 less-than-two-year institutions.
Source: NCES – IPEDS, 2012-13 academic year data

What is the average class size in the U.S. (student-teacher ratio)?

The average class had the following number of students in the 2017-18 academic year:

Public schools –
self-contained classrooms
Public schools –
departmentalized classrooms
Elementary21 students26 students
Middle school17 students25 students
High school16 students23 students

Source: NCES survey data for 2017-18 academic year

Statistics About Teachers

How many K-12 teachers are there in the U.S.?

As of 2017, approximately 3.6 million “full-time equivalent” teachers were teaching at the elementary and secondary school levels. This includes about 3.2 million teachers in public schools and half a million teachers in private schools.
Source: NCES, 2019

What is the average salary of a K-12 teacher in the U.S.?

The average salary of a full-time K-12 teacher in the U.S. was $57,900 for public schools and $45,300 for private schools for the 2017-18 academic year.
Source: NCES survey data for 2017-18 academic year

How long has the average K-12 teacher taught?

From the 2017-18 academic year, the average years of experience was 14 years for teachers in both public and private schools. Among teachers in public charter schools, the average years of experience was 10 years.
Source: NCES survey data for 2017-18 academic year

What education levels do teachers have?

Education degree attainment among teachers during the 2017-18 academic year was:

Degree Level ObtainedPublic SchoolPrivate School
Less than a bachelor’s3%10%
Bachelor’s degree39%42%
Master’s degree49%40%
Higher than a master’s degree9%8%

Source: NCES survey data for 2017-18 academic year

How often do teachers turn over?

Between the 2011-12 academic year and the following year, 84% of public school teachers stayed at the same school, 8% moved to a different school, and 8% left teaching.
Source: NCES, 2019

How often do teachers hold second jobs?

17.8% of public school teachers hold outside jobs (jobs outside of the school system as opposed to supplemental income tied to the school system), earning an average of $5,800 in supplemental income per year. For private school teachers, the share holding outside jobs is 20.7%, earning an average of $6,700 in supplemental income per year.
Source: NCES survey data for 2017-18 academic year

What are the reasons people enter the teaching profession?

Overwhelmingly, reasons cited by teachers for deciding to become teachers are the “Opportunity to contribute to society” (91.4%) and “Working with kids” (89.5%).
Source: NCES, 2012 survey

What are reasons that dissuade people from becoming teachers?

Top reasons cited by teachers as deterrents for entering the profession are “Financial compensation” (31.0%), “Working conditions” (30.1%), and “Teacher accountability for student achievement” (20.8%).
Source: NCES, 2012 survey

Statistics About Students

How many K-12 students are there in the U.S.?

An estimated 56.5 million students were enrolled in elementary and secondary schools nationwide in 2017.
Source: NCES

How often are children homeschooled?

About 3% of children deemed “school-aged,” or 5 to 17, were homeschooled in the 2011-12 academic year.
Source: NCES study, 2017

How often are students bullied at school?

Among students between the ages of 12 and 18, about 20% reported being bullied at school. In order of frequency, the types of bullying were:

  1. “being the subject of rumors”
  2. “being made fun of, called names, or insulted”
  3. “being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on”
  4. “being excluded from activities on purpose”
  5. “being threatened with harm”
  6. “others tried to make them do things they did not want to do”
  7. “their property was destroyed by others on purpose.”

Source: NCES survey, 2017

How many students are there in U.S. colleges and universities?

As of the 2009-10 academic year, there were 28,907,413 students—25,095,038 undergraduate students and 3,812,375 graduate students.
Source: NCES – IPEDS, 2009-10 academic year data

How much do students pay for college?

The average “out-of-pocket” net price of full-time undergraduate students (defined as total cost of attendance—such as tuition and student fees and living expenses—minus all forms of student aid, including loans) was $14,900.
Source: NCES, 2019 release of 2015 -16 academic year data

How much does the average student borrow for college?

In a single academic year (2015-16), the amount of student loans taken out by the average student receiving financial aid was $7,600. This includes loans from any source, such as federal loans, states, educational institutions, or private sources. This amount excludes non-loan federal student aid such as grants and work-study.
Source: NCES, 2019 release of 2015 -16 academic year data

Recommended Sources for Education Statistics

Institute for Education Sciences
The IES is the federal office responsible for collecting data and conducting research about education in the U.S. Among its divisions is the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which publishes many data sets and publications. Some of the most useful data tables or publications include:

National Education Association: Research Reports & Statistics
This teacher’s union publishes information about public schools, especially rankings of states, and conditions in public education.

Education Week: Facts About American Schools (subscription required)
This well-regarded publication updates statistics about schools in the U.S.