N.Y.C. Public School Enrollment Declined 4.5 Percent During the Pandemic

Los Angeles and Chicago, home to the biggest districts in the United States after New York, lost a larger percentage of students this year.

There are currently just over 1 million children enrolled in all of New York City’s public schools, including charter schools. About 938,000 of those students are enrolled in traditional district schools, according to preliminary data from the Department of Education.

Though New York is home to by far the largest school district in the country, enrollment has been steadily declining for years, prompted in part by families leaving the city in search of more affordable housing.

The losses over the past year were concentrated in non-charter district schools, which lost about 17,000 students. They have seen an enrollment decline of over 60,000 students, or roughly 6 percent, since the start of the pandemic. Charters have been steadily gaining enrollment for most of the last decade, but enrollment dipped slightly this year compared to last.

Daily attendance among enrolled students in city schools this fall is slightly below the typical average, at just under 90 percent. The education department had previously resisted explaining how it calculated that rate, but it said on Friday that it was tracking 869,000 students under its regular attendance system, excluding most children in prekindergarten and other early childhood programs.

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