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Some back-to-school facts and figures
August 23, 2010
by Jenni Sebora

It is back to school time. Purchasing school supplies, back packs, and tennis shoes are just part of this ritual.

In the United States, we spend about $7.2 billion on clothes and $2.4 billion in bookstores in August, according to the US Census Bureau.

This school year, 76 million children and adults are enrolled to attend school from nursery to college. That equates to 27 percent of the entire population older than 3 years. Of that number, 56 million are students who are projected to be enrolled in our nation’s elementary and high schools. This number exceeds the total in 1969, which was 51.6 million, when the baby boomers grew the school enrollment numbers.

Full-day kindergarten programming and home schooling are school options, as well. Two percent of all school-age children, ages 5 to 17, are home-schooled.

Some other back-to-school facts include:

• 12 percent children, 6 to 11 years old participated in clubs, sports and lessons in 2006.

• 11 percent of kindergarten through high school students are attending private schools this fall.

• 42 percent of kindergarten through high school students were minorities.

• 23 percent of kindergarten through high school students had at least one foreign-born parent.

• 10.9 million school-aged children (5 to 17) speak a language other than English at home. These children make up nearly one in five children in this age group. The majority of these children speak Spanish at home (7.1 million).

Technology certainly is changing the way we educate our children. One hundred percent of public schools have Internet access, which certainly is an increase from 1995, when the percentage was 50.

Despite the rising cost of college, the number of students attending the nation’s two- and four-year colleges and universities has increased. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the fall of 2009, a record 18.4 million students were expected to attend college, an increase of a little more than 3 million since fall of 2000.

The average tuition, room and board to attend a four year public college was $14,915 and $40,640 for a private university or college for the academic year 2007-08, which is more than double the amount from 1990.

It pays to go to college, literally. The average annual earnings of workers age 18 and older with an advanced degree is $83,144, and $58,613 a year for those with a bachelor’s degree. This compares to $31,283 for those with a high school diploma, and $21,023 for those without a high school degree.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Also, last week, I wrote about a book series that my children are reading: “The 39 Clues” in which my son reminded me that there will be 39 books in the series.