Data: Homeschooling Rates Doubled During the Pandemic

But a deeper look at the numbers shows it may not just be COVID that is causing an increase in homeschooling.

A girl, her dad, and a black cat sit at a table

An increasing number of children are being homeschooled, as more and more parents are opting to take their kids out of school and take charge in their education.

According the U.S. Census Bureau, 5.4 percent of households in the United States reported homeschooling their kids between April 23 through May 5 of 2020. But by September 30 to October 12, that number had risen all the way to 11.1 percent.

On the one hand, this rise in homeschooling seems pretty obvious due to the pandemic. After all, the majority of schooling was done at-home anyway, so it makes sense that more parents would opt to homeschool their kids rather than have them endure the many headaches that come with remote learning. Add that to the chaos of COVID-19 and kids getting sick and it seems like an obvious enough choice for parents who were maybe already on the fence.

However, there may be more to the shift than just COVID. The Washington Post pointed out that while homeschooling has historically been seen as “the domain of religious White families, the most significant increases were seen among Black, Latino and Asian households.”

In May 2019, only one percent of Black students in the United States were homeschooled but by May 2021, that number had jumped all the way to 8 percent. Hispanic students saw a similar increase, as the rate went from two percent of students to 9 percent in the same two-year window. White students being homeschooled also increased, but at a lower rate, only jumping from four percent to 8 percent.

What is the explanation for these increases? It’s difficult to say, and it’s unlikely just for one reason. For many, it likely has to do with continued systemic racial inequality in American education, as well as some parents expressing concern about their children being subjected to racism at school. The numbers show that Black and Latino children and special education students “are overrepresented in suspensions, expulsions and school arrests.”

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that homeschooling is on the rise in the United States. while numbers are unlikely to remain as high as they were during the peak of the pandemic, this could represent a larger shift of more parents choosing to take their child’s education into their own hands.