Friday, August 29, 2008

One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students

Check out the Full Report

by Rick Fry and Felisa Gonzales, Pew Hispanic Center

The number of Hispanic students in the nation's public schools nearly doubled from 1990 to 2006, accounting for 60% of the total growth in public school enrollments over that period. There are now approximately 10 million Hispanic students in the nation's public kindergartens and its elementary and high schools; they make up about one-in-five public school students in the United States. In 1990, just one-in-eight public school students were Hispanic.

Strong growth in Hispanic enrollment is expected to continue for decades, according to a recently released U.S. Census Bureau population projection. The bureau projects that the Hispanic school-age population will increase by 166% by 2050 (to 28 million from 11 million in 2006), while the non-Hispanic school-age population will grow by just 4% (to 45 million from 43 million) over this same period.1 In 2050, there will be more school-age Hispanic children than school-age non-Hispanic white children.

Using data from the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS), this report presents information on the demographic characteristics of Hispanic students in public schools. It compares Hispanic public school students with their non-Hispanic counterparts. The large sample sizes available in the ACS also enable detailed comparison of Hispanic students across generational groups.

Key findings from the report:

* The vast majority of Hispanic public school students (84%) were born in the United States.
* Seven-in-ten (70%) Hispanic students speak a language other than English at home.
* Nearly one-in-five (18%) of all Hispanic students speak English with difficulty.
* Nearly three-in-five Hispanic students (57%) live in households with both of their parents compared with 69% of non-Hispanic white students and 30% of non-Hispanic black students.
* More than seven-in-ten U.S. born Hispanic students of immigrant parents (71%) live with both parents. Smaller shares of foreign-born students (58%) and U.S.-born students of native parentage (48%) reside with both parents.
* More than a quarter of Hispanic students (28%) live in poverty, compared with 16% of non-Hispanic students. In comparison, more than a third of non-Hispanic black students (35%) reside in poverty and about one-in-ten non-Hispanic white students live in a poor household.
* Foreign-born Hispanic students (35%) are more likely than their native-born counterparts (27%) to live in poverty.

1The U.S. Census Bureau projects the size of the population age 5 to 17. The growth of public school enrollment will not exactly match the growth of the school-age population because some children are not enrolled in school, some children attend private schools and some adults are enrolled in public schools.

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