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20 Exciting Education Statistics [Updated in 2020]

When it comes to education statistics, there is a lot of misinformation out there. And since knowledge is power, having the right info can make all the difference. 

That being said:

Even if you are willing to educate yourself, sorting through all of the data can be quite exhausting. This is why we have compiled a list of the most important and the most accurate stats in order to help you make the best decision possible.

Here’s the deal:

We’ll cover various education-related topics, from the importance of reading to toddlers to the probability of ending up with a huge student loan.  

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Amazing USA Education Stats (Editor’s Choice)

  • Less than 16% of students dropout of high school without graduating, and the numbers are decreasing as the years go by. 
  • Around 80% of teachers are white, while the student body is far more diverse. 
  • Less than 4% of US students choose to be homeschooled.
  • Around 10% of students choose to go to a private school.
  • As of the last couple of years, as many as 20% of all public schools offer at least one course entirely online. 
  • Only Luxembourg spends more per student than the US, and education is free for the majority of the students. 
  • More female than male students graduate from college. 
  • A bachelor’s degree from a four-year college usually takes up to six years to complete. 
  • 45 million students have student loan debts in the USA as of 2020.

Education Starts Even Before You Can Read

Education starts very early in our childhood and can have a profound impact on our entire lives. It comes as no surprise that so many of us are interested in education facts

Down below, you can check out the most compelling data we have gathered. Let’s see if some of the facts come as a surprise to you.

1. 86% of 5-year-olds are involved in some sort of pre-primary programs.

(Source: NCES)

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, it’s never too early to start educating your children. Before you make any sort of decision in regard to your children’s future and start worrying about all sorts of negative national education stats, keep in mind that there is something that you can do even before that. 

One of the most important steps you can take is to introduce home literacy activities. From reading bedtime stories to teaching them letters and words, these activities benefit your child when the formal part of their education actually starts.

2. Reading to your infants can give them a long-lasting literary boost. 

(AAP Publication)

Research done over the last decade shows a direct correlation between reading aloud and the performance of children in the early days of their education. The impact can be measured even four years later, all the way to the start of elementary school.

In addition to reading aloud: 

Discussing what was read, including the number of books they are exposed to, will boost their vocabulary, literacy, and reading skills. This gives them a marvelous head start in the early days of their formal education.

3. Education and poverty statistics show a direct correlation between income and success. 

(The Census Bureau)

It is impossible to talk about the education crisis in America without referencing the importance of money. Student debt is piling up, and college costs more every year. 

But some data goes even deeper than that. As it turns out, the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be poor. Only 5% of people who earned a bachelor’s degree are poor,  compared to 29% of those never graduated from high school. 

The digest of education statistics shows that people with a bachelor’s degree and higher have an unemployment rate of less than 3%, with the numbers decreasing every year. 

The bad news is: 

If you come from poor families, you are way less likely to change things for yourself.

4. The elementary school student body has never been this poor.


Students coming from poor families aren’t able to complete their education due to poor health, issues at home, and the inability to regularly attend classes. 

If we look at the elementary education statistics, we see that the number of students hasn’t increased that much. In contrast, the number of students eligible for free or price-reduced lunch has increased to up to almost 53%. This only goes to show that the number of students in need of help is getting bigger as the years go by. 

Although it is difficult to beat the system, it isn’t impossible. This only proves that the education starts early on and that the more you plan for it, make time and other resources have it, and put it as a priority, the better your overall living standard is going to be. 

Education Statistics - elementary school

From Debt to PHDs - Higher Education in a Nutshell

5. Tuitions are becoming less affordable, and debt is measured in trillions. 


Few people are surprised when they hear the horrendous statistics about the enormous size of student debt. It is impossible to even consider any of the USA education stats without mentioning the subject.

It comes as no surprise when you bear in mind that the average cost of college ranges from $10,000 to more than $50,000, depending on the college you choose. It is also important to notice that prices are increasing, slowly and steadily, each year, which is why this next stat shouldn’t be a surprise 

6. 66% of borrowers who graduated from public colleges have student loan debt. 


When it comes to considering your career path, keep in mind that the loan you might take now will definitely have a significant impact in your future. Just ask the two-thirds of the student body still struggling to pay it back.

Although it is very difficult to avoid it altogether, being prepared can make a lot of difference. Unfortunately, that is not what most students do. 

7. According to education statistics, students’ biggest regret is not planning for debt. 


 According to a survey Time magazine did, the biggest regret amongst students was not planning for student debt. Deciding on your major, your desired career progression, the school you will be attending… All of those are important choices, but the one that has the biggest consequences is the financial one. 

Research different options for yourself and think ahead in order to avoid having the early stages of your career completely overshadowed by the massive debt you’re saddled with. 

8. Higher education statistics show that 70% of graduates choose to continue their education. 

(World Population Review)

One of the best statistics when it comes to the USA is the high number of people choosing to continue their education. Statistics on educational attainment get better across the board, and all research shows that the number of degrees is going to keep on increasing. 

All of this shows that the interest in higher education hasn’t declined, and its value and importance still carry some weight in the real world, especially on the job market. College education statistics are a good indicator that investing in your future and education can be a wise choice when done for the right reasons. 

9. There are more students every year, especially women. 

(Education Data)

College enrollment statistics show that more students apply every year, with 2019 seeing the highest figure. Another interesting fact that there were three million more female students than male ones.

10. More than 50% of students regret the decision they made in regard to their higher education. 

(Strada Education)

Remember when we said you should invest in your education for the right reasons? 

Sadly, the average USA student has a lot of regrets, post-secondary education statistics reveal.  

Most wish they had chosen a different major, career path, or even attended another institution. This, of course, doesn’t mean a lot for someone just starting their higher education, except that they need to think carefully. And there are plenty of education facts and statistics that can help you out with that! 

11. 43% of students are dropping out from community colleges – but it’s not what you think. 

(Community College Review) 

Community college statistics show a significant number of dropouts. But those statistics may be misleading since many of those students transfer to a much more prestigious four-year program. That means that even if you aren’t able to choose your preferred college right now, you might get a chance to do so down the road.


The system does have its flaws, but it allows you to create a customized career path and avoid debts. Just make sure you have valued all of your options before you stick with one. 

12. The national education budget is being cut by 12%. 

(Strada Education)

Pell Grant program recipients might find themselves in quite a predicament in 2020.

Here’s why:

They are the first to suffer the effects of a staggering $62 billion being reallocated to different departments. 

There are no indicators as to what will happen next fiscal year, but everyone in need of financial aid needs to start planning ahead. 

13. One in four students is taking an online course, and the numbers are increasing. 

(Babson Survey Research Group)

The United States education statistics show that the students are taking full advantage of e-learning. 

And it’s not just the number of students who are taking their courses entirely online that’s increasing. 

According to online education statistics, so is the number of online courses on offer. Even the most prestigious of universities have taken part in this rapid involvement of the educational system. 

Education Statistics - graduation

Not-so-traditional Education Facts that May Surprise You

14. Homeschooling statistics show that 3 to 4% of students are enrolled. 


The number of children who are homeschooled hasn’t altered significantly in the last decade. In the majority of the cases, parents are the providers of education, at least until a child reaches a certain age. Overall, homeschooling lasts until 12th grade or the age of 17. In most cases the schools are religious-based, and their curricula, overall outcomes, and performance remain stable. 

What comes as a surprise isn’t this data, but what we can find when going deeper. Parents’ responses reveal the worrying reality of an average school in the USA. 

15. 91% of parents who homeschool decide to do so because of the school environment, education statistics reveal. 


 The average person might suspect that the reasons for choosing to homeschool have more to do with the family’s personal circumstances – faith, overall beliefs, or the desire to separate their growing minds from the authoritative influence of other adults. 

Although that may seem like a logical answer, research tells a different story – bullying is behind the majority of the parents’ decision. But is bullying really that present?

16. One-fifth of the student body report that they are being bullied at school.

(Pacer, NCES)

The data presented to us by the public education statistics is more than troubling. In fact, it is suspected that the number of actual victims is much higher, which is a cause for even greater concern.  In addition to physical violence, reports include false rumors, name-calling, deliberate exclusion of activities, as well as threats and blackmail, as the report published by the Department of Education statistics states. 

 In addition to this, the research shows that there is no big difference between public and private school statistics. In both cases, children were affected almost equally. On the flip side, every program that the school or the state enforces creates a better environment and decreases bullying-related activity.

Is Education Improving Outside the US?

In addition to all the talk about wrong choices and mountains of debt, it would do us good to take a look at some positive data as well. We are in luck since most of the reports show something to look forward to. 

17. Global education statistics show illiteracy rates are dropping. 

(Our World in Data)

If we look at the information about the entire world, we can see that illiteracy rates are dropping significantly. Since literacy is the basis for almost all types of formal education, this is a strong indicator that we can expect other trends to improve as well, which is exactly what the research shows. 

18. The number of students is increasing at all levels of education. 

(Our World in Data)

As illiteracy decreases, the number of people with no formal education goes down. What does that mean? Well, primary school enrollments have increased dramatically, which, in turn, increases the number of students in more advanced levels of education.

Building a solid educational foundation, starting with reading and writing, creates a ripple effect through the entire system, allowing the world to welcome a lot more academics. And hand in and with that, globalization has its impact as well. 

19. Bilingual students are also increasing in numbers. 

(Data Center)

Bilingual education statistics show an increase in the number of programs, especially when it comes to higher education. Most of this is due to migration, as well as globalization and accessibility, which have shaped the 21st century. 

This gives many displaced young adults a chance for a fresh start, and the ability to not be bound by their current unfortunate circumstances. In turn, it impacts the campuses as well, by stepping out of the standardized norm and enjoying the potential and talent from all over the world. 

20. The number of high school dropouts is decreasing. 


Don’t pay attention to pop culture! Another info that hits close to home is high school education statistics about dropouts – fewer students are opting to not finish high school in the United States

This is one of the reasons why the number of students is increasing since more and more teenagers are choosing to pursue a career that requires them to further improve their academic knowledge and formal education. 

Education Statistics - studying


Q: Where does the United States rank in education in the world?

There are many factors to consider when ranking the quality of education. And in some cases, the USA lands the coveted first spot easily. This is mostly due to the very high number of students choosing to continue their academic life and strive for greater success. On the flip side, American students score poorly when it comes to standardized tests that cover reading, math, and science. 

Q: Which country is #1 in education?

As we mentioned, there are many factors to consider, but some countries do keep popping up at the top of the list. Education statistics have always been an important and interesting topic, and many organizations are conducting their own research and tests.  

Nordic countries usually lead the charge, with Finland very often getting all the prizes on their well-rounded educational system, which is free for all. One of the contributing factors is that teachers enjoy a very high position in society, similar to judges and surgeons. The importance they give to education is tremendous, which always puts them at the very top. 

Q: What state has the worst education?

From Pre-K to Higher education, it seems that the state of New Mexico offers the poorest choices to its students. Although the results may change year to year, the years show little progress when it comes to improving their stats about education. 

Q: What percentage of Americans attend public schools?

According to NCES, the fall of 2019 welcomed as many as 56.6 million students, with only 5.8 million attending private schools. Public school statistics show that ten times more, or to be precise 50.8 million students have chosen to either begin or continue their education in the public school system. 

Q: What state spends the most on education?

As the US education statistics show, there haven’t been many changes in that area. In recent years, New York has been the state that spends the most on its students, about three times more than the states that rate the lowest. In a logical turn of events, education statistics by state show that New York has also always ranked among the best when it comes to the results of the students and the quality of education. It is good to know that the money is being put to good use! 

Q: How expensive is education in the USA?

According to recent research, the US is taking the lead when it comes to the cost of education. The cost of an average student is around $30,000 annually, which is far more than any developing country. Another important piece of data to mention is definitely the student loan debt statistics – in 2020, it reached an astonishing $1.56 trillion. It shows no indication of going down. And, of course, the debt is bigger in larger states. Interestingly enough, New York is one of them as well. 


Although American education system problems are numerous, and ideas for improvements are piling up, the overall results in the education field are showing improvements. 

One thing is clear:

Even in a world that moves faster than you can blink, the importance of a good and quality education isn’t overlooked. One of the best examples is the IT industry, which shows the most growth and rapid changes. The significance of a diploma hasn’t decreased. It doesn’t hurt to know that the world has never been this educated. 

When you make your decision in regard to education, keep in mind all of the information and education statistics we provided for you. Choosing the best course of action can have a high impact on your future, but knowing when to give up and change the course is equally as important. 

Key takeaway:

A solid education isn’t the only factor in your overall success. So, use it as a foundation, and continue building yourself up – investing in non-formal education, volunteering, and exploring the world. Best of luck! 


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