Why Private School Enrollment is on the Decline

This past school year, 479,000 students attended private school in the state of California. That’s 57,000 fewer than a decade prior and 158,000 less than in 2000.

As the Sacramento Bee reports, the decline in private school enrollment is being driven by a loss of interest in religious schooling. While secular private school enrollment has remained fairly constant at 130,000, the number of kids attending religious institutions dropped from 506,000 in 2000 to 339,000 in 2018-19.

Religious affiliation is declining among Californians, particularly those who can afford school tuition. Abuses within the Catholic Church have helped this phenomenon along. There was a time when many non-religious people sent their kids to religious institutions because they were preferable to the local public school. But widespread availability of charter schools has eliminated this need for many.

Los Angeles County has experienced the largest decline in private school enrollment in California. Two affluent counties, Marin and Santa Clara, saw an increase.

Nationwide, private school enrollment is also on a downward trend, according to U.S. Census figures.

Read more at American School & University


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