Most states do not collect data on the number of homeschooled students. This makes determining the number of children being homeschooled challenging. The most accurate estimates 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 (NHES).
According to the data collected by the NCES, 1,770,000 students, or 3.4% of all school aged children, were being homeschooled in 2011, the most recent year for which we have data. While the number of homeschooled children has been on the rise since the 1970s (though, unfortunately, the NCES data only goes back to 1999), it is unclear whether that number is still rising at the same pace or is beginning to level off. At the very least, we can safely say that the number of homeschooled students is not likely to be declining.
State by State
Few states collect data on the number of children being homeschooled. Even states that require parents to notify their local school districts when they begin homeschooling do not generally collect this data at the state level, and some states track the number of homeschools but not the number of homeschooled students. Further, some states only require parents to notify the state when they begin to homeschool, and request that they notify the state again when they cease to homeschool but do not technically require them to do so.
Adding to the difficulty of determining the number of homeschoolers, some states have multiple legal options for homeschooling, some of which they may not officially count as “homeschooling.” For example, some parents or guardians enroll their children in umbrella schools while educating them at home. While some states officially count these students as homeschoolers, and may even include homeschooling under the supervision of an umbrella school in their homeschool codes, others do not.
In the future, we hope to analyze numerical data from the few states that do collect this information, but for the time being we have created estimates for each state by multiplying the number of school aged children in each state (those ages 5 to 17) in 2013 (data that can be found on the website of the Children’s Defense Fund) by 3% and by 4% (to give us a low estimate and a high estimate). The NCES data suggests that in 2011 roughly 3.4% of school aged children were homsechooled, but it should be remembered that the exact percentage likely varies by state. Please bear in mind that these are rough estimates only.
Estimated Number of Homeschoolers by State
|Low estimate||High estimate|
|District of Columbia||2,075||2,767|