NCES releases Digest of Education Statistics

The latest edition of the Digest of Education Statistics is a compilation of a wide array of data about education, including new information about important issues in public education. The Digest, compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), is a comprehensive statistical reference for all levels of education, from prekindergarten through graduate school.

Data in the Digest cover a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons.

Among the new data in the Digest are findings regarding the language spoken at home by English Language Learner (ELL) students who were enrolled in public elementary and secondary school in 2013-14. The data show that Spanish was spoken at home by 76 percent of ELL students. Other common non-English home languages included Arabic, Chinese, and Vietnamese (each spoken by about 2 percent of ELL students). About 84 percent of ELL students were enrolled in elementary and secondary grades (K-8), while 16 percent were enrolled in grades 9 through 12.

The latest edition of the Digest also includes key findings on the core topics of enrollment and educational attainment, including:

  • In fall 2015, public schools enrolled 35.3 million elementary students and 15.0 million secondary students, according to projections. Public elementary enrollment is expected to increase 2 percent between 2015 and 2025, and public secondary enrollment is expected to increase 3 percent over the same period;
  • Between 1990 and 2014, the status dropout rate declined from 12.1 percent to 6.5 percent. (The status dropout rate is the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who have not completed high school and are not enrolled in school.) Although the status dropout rate declined for both Blacks and Hispanics during this period, their rates (7.4 and 10.6 percent, respectively) remained higher than the rate for Whites (5.2 percent) in 2014;
  • Between fall 2000 and fall 2010, enrollment in 2-year and 4-year colleges rose 37 percent, from 15.3 million to 21.0 million. However, from fall 2010 to fall 2014, enrollment decreased 4 percent to 20.2 million;
  • From 1976 to 2014, the percentage of college students who are Hispanic rose from 4 percent to 17 percent, the percentage who are Asian/Pacific Islander rose from 2 percent to 7 percent, the percentage who are Black rose from 10 percent to 14 percent, and the percentage who are American Indian/Alaska Native rose from 0.7 to 0.8 percent; and
  • Americans are completing more years of education. The percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who had completed high school rose from 86 percent in 2005 to 91 percent in 2015. During the same period, the percentage of young adults with a bachelor’s or higher degree increased from 29 percent to 36 percent.

To view the full report please visit