Homeschool Statistics

Homeschool statistics can offer an interesting window into the many facets of homeschooling. In this article, we examine some homeschool statistics about why people homeschool, number of people that are homeschooled, and homeschool curriculums.

Why Do People Homeschool?

With a public schooling system that draws a great deal of our legislators’ attention and that are free, not to mention private schools with a wide variety of approaches to education, people might wonder what is it that leads people to homeschool. In a survey of over one million homeschooling households, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found the following in its 2003 survey (the most current data available) indicated the following homeschool statistics:

  • Most families had multiple reasons for choosing to homeschool.
  • Most families included among their reasons concern about the school environment (including concerns about drugs, safety, or peer pressure), the quality of academic instruction, and the desire to offer their children a greater degree of moral or religious instruction.
  • Some families wished to homeschool for specific child-centered reasons, such as their child’s mental or physical health issue, other special needs that their child had, or the child’s own desire for a homeschooling education.
  • A smaller number of homeschoolers also wanted the greater flexibility that homeschooling can provide or wanted more control over the curriculum.
  • When asked to identify the chief reason that they wished to homeschool, about a third of families identified the environment of other schools as the most compelling reason, while another third made the choice primarily to provide moral or religious instruction in their child’s curriculum.

Comparing Homeschooling Families with Families of Public and Private School Students

Looking at homeschooling families in comparison to public and private school families in the NCES data, the most striking homeschool statistic differences that show up are these:

  • While families with three or more children make up 43.6% of the public school population and 40.6% of the private school population, they make up 62% of the homeschooling population.
  • While all populations are more likely to live in two-parent families, 49.3% of public school students and 56.3% of private school students have both parents working, while only 25% of homeschoolers do.
  • While half of private school students have family incomes of $75,001 or more, public and homeschooled students families are approximately equal in falling into income brackets of up to $25,000, $25,001-$50,000, $50,001-$75,000, and $75,001 and up.

Number of Students Homeschooled

Reviewing the homeschool statistics regarding the number of students attending different types of schools, the NCES data shows that:

  • In 2003, 2.2 percent of all student – about 1,096,000 – were homeschooled, up from 1.7 percent of students (850,000) in 1999.
  • Over 43% of homeschooled students were in grades K-5, with about 28% in grades 6-8 and about 29% in grades 9-12.
  • Over 19.5% of parents of homeschoolers have been to graduate or professional school.
  • Of the 1,096,000 students being homeschooled in 2003, 82% of them had no education other than homeschooling, while 18% attended another school part-time, most of those for less than 9 hours a week.

Observations on Homeschool Curriculum

With regard to homeschooling statistics on homeschool methods, the NCES 2003 data reveals that:

  • Over 41% of homeschooled students were involved in some kind of distance learning.
  • Of those students involved in distance learning, slightly more than 20% were gaining instruction through television, video, or radio; nearly 19.5% were instructed through the Internet, email, or other use of the web; and slightly more than 15% were instructed using the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Other sources that were used for curriculum included:

  • the public library for nearly 78% of homeschool families
  • a person or publisher specializing in homeschooling for nearly 77% of homeschooling families
  • a trade bookstore or other store for nearly 69% of homeschooling families
  • an educational publisher without a homeschooling specialty for nearly 60% of homeschooling families
  • an organization specializing in homeschooling for nearly 50% of homeschooling families
  • a religious organization for 36.5% of homeschooling families
  • a private school, public school, or public school district for 39.4% of homeschooling families.


National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)  –