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Homeschool Statistics

Homeschooling statistics are tracked by the US Department of Education. This article contains homeschool facts, information on homeschool statistics, percentages of students being homeschooled, and reasons for homeschooling.

Percentage of Students Being Homeschooled

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report on the National Household Education Survey (NHES) in 1999 estimated that there were 850,000 homeschool students ages 5-17 (grades K-12) in the US, which was about 1.7 percent of the students. In this survey, homeschooled was defined to mean that students were at least partially schooled at home and spent less than 25 hours each week in public or private schools.

In 2003, according to NCES, a repeat survey found that in spring, 2003, about 1,096,000 students, or 2.2% of school-age children were being homeschooled using the same definition criteria. Interestingly, a Harris Poll in spring of 2006 indicates that 8% of adults surveyed had homeschooled their child at some point.

In both 1999 and 2003, most students who were homeschooled (82%) were educated exclusively at home, while the remaining 18% received some of their education through public or private schools on a part-time basis. For most of these students, their attendance in a public or private school amounted to less than 9 hours per week.

Reasons for Homeschooling

Parents choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons they deemed most important. according to the NCES report, the top two in 2003 being concern with the community schooling environments and in order to provide religious or moral training�"the two motivations having nearly equal percentages (around 30% each). Dissatisfaction with academic instruction was a somewhat distant third, being voiced by 16 percent or respondents.

Although a direct comparison cannot be drawn because the data was drawn in different years, it is interesting to line these reasons up with reasons ascribed to homeschool families by an undifferentiated survey of people who do and do not homeschool themselves�"the Harris Survey referred to earlier. Note that in this case, multiple reasons were allowed, whereas in the NCES report, only the primary reason was given. Nevertheless, it is interesting to observe that the highest number of respondents said that they thought the main reason for homeschooling was dissatisfaction with academic instruction (65%), followed by concern about safety in school or on a school bus (60%) and thirdly, dissatisfaction with state or government school regulation (51%). This may suggest that the perception of homeschooling differs from the reality in this regard.

Some Facts About Homeschooling Families from the 1999 Survey

Most parents who chose to homeschool in 1999 had at minimum some vo-tech training or college classes, while almost exactly 25% had a bachelor’s degree and over 22% had a professional or graduate school degree. Both the percentage of parents with a bachelor’s degree and a professional or graduate degee are higher than for parents in non-homeschooling families.

Roughly half of the children homeschooled in that year were male and half female. Most homeschooling households had two parents and two or more children. Roughly half lived in cities with the remaining half divided between town and rural settings.

Homeschool Statistics Sources:

  • Harris Survey:
  • 1999 and 2003 NHES Surveys:

Written by Mary Elizabeth.