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Long-Term Trends in Private School Enrollments by Family Income

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  • Richard J. Murnane
  • Sean F. Reardon

Abstract

We use data from multiple national surveys to describe trends in private elementary school enrollment by family income from 1968-2013. We note several important trends. First, the private school enrollment rate of middle-income families declined substantially over the last five decades, while that of high-income families remained quite stable. Second, there are notable differences in private school enrollment trends by race/ethnicity, urbanicity, and region of the country. Although racial/ethnic differences in private school enrollment are largely explained by income differences, the urban/suburban and regional differences in private school enrollment patterns are large even among families with similar incomes. In particular, the 90-50 income percentile difference in private school enrollment rates in 2013 is more than three times as large in cities as in the suburbs, and these gaps are larger in the South and West than in the Northeast and Midwest. Factors contributing to these patterns may include trends in income inequality, private school costs and availability, and the perceived relative quality of local schooling options.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard J. Murnane & Sean F. Reardon, 2017. "Long-Term Trends in Private School Enrollments by Family Income," NBER Working Papers 23571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23571
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Courtioux & Tristan-Pierre Maury, 2018. "Private and Public Schools: A Spatial Analysis of Social Segregation in France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01823056, HAL.
    2. Pierre Courtioux & Tristan-Pierre Maury, 2018. "Private and Public Schools: A Spatial Analysis of Social Segregation in France," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 18015, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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