By Gretchen Livingston In the late s, the average mother at the end of her childbearing years had given birth to more than three children. Since that time, average family size has declined, driven largely by declines in families with four or more children. Now, moms have 2. Infour-in-ten mothers ages 40 to 44 had four or more children.
Who Goes to Private School? The reasons behind these decisions are as individual as families themselves: Private schools historically ranged widely in their annual fees; many programs, such as those run by the Catholic Church, were designed to be broadly affordable and offered significant discounts for low-income families.
However, the number of Catholic schools has fallen sharply in recent years, while the number of nonsectarian private schools has increased. At the same time, income inequality and residential and school segregation by income have grown. How have these shifting trends affected private-school enrollment nationwide?
Has expanding income inequality led to an increased concentration of affluent families at private schools? If so, has that fueled a broader increase in segregation at both public and private schools?
To explore these questions, we examine enrollment and family-income data from the past 50 years at Catholic, other religious, and nonsectarian private elementary schools that is, schools serving grades K—8.
Our analysis finds that private schools, like public schools, are increasingly segregated by income.
In particular, the share of middle-income students attending private schools has declined by almost half, while the private-school enrollment rate of wealthy children has remained steady. Much of the decline among middle-income students is due to falling enrollment at Catholic schools, which have closed in droves in the past 20 years.
Meanwhile, private-school enrollment among affluent students has shifted from religious to nonsectarian schools.
By the mids, it had fallen to 10 percent and remained quite steady for the rest of the 20th century. During the subsequent 15 years, it drifted downward slowly and was slightly less than 9 percent in see Figure 1.
Those relatively steady numbers since the mids mask significant changes in the mix of school types that make up the private-school market, driven in particular by widespread closures of Catholic schools.
In89 percent of American children who attended a private elementary school were enrolled in a Catholic school; inthe comparable figure was 42 percent. By contrast, the percentage of private elementary-school students who attended a non-Catholic religious school increased from 8 percent in to 40 percent in During this same period, the percentage of private elementary-school students enrolled in nonsectarian schools increased from 4 percent to 18 percent.
Has the family income mix of students attending each type of private school changed in recent decades? One reason it might have is that inequality in the incomes of American families, which held steady between andgrew over subsequent decades. Looking at families with children in grades 1 to 8 between andthe average income, net of inflation, among those in the 10th percentile declined by 11 percent.
That of families with incomes in the middle, or 50th percentile, increased by 19 percent. That of relatively affluent families with incomes in the 90th percentile increased by 57 percent. Some surveys, such as the census, asked respondents to report the individual income for each family member, while others asked parents to place their household income within a set range of dollar amounts.
To obtain a common metric, we converted ordinal income categories into percentiles of the national distribution of incomes for families with children enrolled in grades 1 to 8. Our analysis includes incomes from the —69 school year until —14, which we refer to as and To remove the effects of inflation, we express all family incomes and private-school tuitions in dollars.
We do not have enough data points to precisely measure the private-school enrollment rates of families at each income level. We refer to these family-income percentiles as low, middle, and high. Findings Our analysis finds a strong positive role of family income in predicting private-school enrollment, as well as a marked decline between and in the share of students from middle-income families attending private schools see Figure 2.
For example, in18 percent of elementary-school-age children from high-income families attended a private school, compared to 12 percent of children from middle-income families and 5 percent of children from low-income families. Inthe percentage of children from middle-income families had declined by almost half, to 7 percent, while the percentage of children from high-income families remained roughly steady at 16 percent.
As a result, the gap in private elementary-school enrollment rates grew from 5. Much of the expanded gap is due to declining enrollment at Catholic private schools, which historically served large numbers of children from low- and middle-income families.
In addition, growth in the gap among students at private nonsectarian elementary schools has been particularly large, almost entirely due to a substantial increase in the enrollment rate of children from high-income families.Family office investing trends •chase of REIT units/shares (both traded and non-traded, Pur public and private) Direct •t ventures Join The most common way we see family offices direct invest.
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