Most states do not collect data on the number of students being homeschooled; this makes determining the exact number of homeschooled children impossible. We can, however, make estimates. The most accurate estimates we have are those released every four years by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which includes questions about homeschooling in its National Household Education Survey, last conducted in 2015-2016.
The number of children being homeschooled grew 28.9% between 1999 and 2003, 37.6% between 2003 and 2007, and 17.4% between 2007 and 2011-2012. Between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016, the number of children being homeschooled deceased by 4.5%. The highest rate of homeschool growth occurred between 2003 and 2007.
While homeschooling grew rapidly between 1999 and 2007, in other words, that growth slowed between 2007 and 2011-2012. Between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016, the estimated number of children being homeschooled decreased by around 80,000.
Important takeaways from this data include:
Reporters and other individuals frequently want to know how many children are homeschooled in a given state. Unfortunately, determining this is challenging for a number of reasons. Among these reasons:
The table below provides (1) unadjusted estimates of the number of children homeschooled in each state, (2) adjusted estimates, and (3) state data where available.
1. We created the unadjusted number for each state by multiplying the number of children ages 5-17 in the state by 3.3%, the nationwide homeschool rate. The unadjusted rate, then, shows how many students would be homeschooled in that state if children in that state were homeschooled at the same rate as children are nationwide.
2. We calculated each state’s adjusted number by factoring in the following things:
It is important to remember that many states have characteristics that are not so easily corrected for. For example, enrollment levels in Alaska’s many correspondence school programs suggest that the state has far more homeschooled students than accounted for in our adjusted rate; this is likely due to extenuating factors specific to the state, such as the many students living in remote areas that are difficult to reach.
3. We gathered the state data listed in the table from the International Center for Home Education Research (ICHER); you can view this data on their website here. ICHER obtained this data from state education officials in states where such records are kept. Because this data is frequently not straightforward, we make liberal use of footnotes to provide more context. Unless otherwise marked, this data is from 2015 or 2016.
|District of Columbia||2,517||1,657|
|North Carolina||55,411||55,530||118,268 |
Page last updated November 2017.