Feb 8, 2024 - News

Charted: Virginia's private school enrollment surge

Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Enrollment in Virginia public schools has seen a dramatic decline since the onset of the pandemic, and new census data suggests a shift from public to private school has driven some of the drop.

By the numbers: Statewide 15.7% of Virginia students attended private school in 2022, compared with 14.4% in 2019.

  • That translates into nearly 17,500 more students
  • Metro Richmond private school enrollment also jumped post-COVID, from 13.3% in 2019 to 13.5% in 2022.

Why it matters: Virginia's public school enrollment is projected to continue shrinking through the end of the decade, and at a rate faster than initially expected.

Zoom in: Home schooling has also surged in Virginia.

Zoom out: Nationwide, the share of students enrolled in private school rose 11.1% between 2019 and 2022.

  • Nearly every state and D.C. saw an increase in private school enrollment since before the pandemic.

Of note: Officials have pointed to the state's declining birth rates and stagnant population growth for the public school enrollment drops.

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