New Report on the Condition of Education in the United States

The National Center for Education Statistics has released The Condition of Education 2018, a congressionally mandated report that summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. This year’s report provides new analyses on a wide range of issues, including the cost of early childhood care arrangements and average student loan debt for graduate school completers. Findings from the new analyses include:

  • Early childhood care expenses were higher in 2016 than in 2001. For example, families’ average hourly out-of-pocket expenses for center-based care were 72 percent higher in 2016 ($7.60) than in 2001 ($4.42), in constant 2016–17 dollars. The analysis also finds that in 2016, some 57 percent of children under the age of 6 had parents who reported there were good choices for child care where they lived. Among children whose parents reported difficulty finding child care in 2016, some 32 percent cited cost as the primary reason.
  • Overall, 18 percent of public school teachers in 2015–16 had entered teaching through an alternative route to certification program. The percentages were higher among those who taught career or technical education (37 percent), natural sciences (28 percent), foreign languages (26 percent), English as a second language (24 percent), math and computer science (22 percent), and special education (20 percent).
  • Among graduate school completers who had student loans for undergraduate or graduate studies, average student loan balances increased between 1999–2000 and 2015–16 for all degree types (in constant 2016–17 dollars). For example, average student loan balances for students who completed research doctorate degrees, such as a Ph.D., doubled during this time period, from $53,500 to $108,400 (an increase of 103 percent). Average student loan balances increased by 90 percent for those who completed professional doctorate degrees, such as medical doctorates and law degrees (from $98,200 to $186,600).

The 2018 report also includes other key findings on topics ranging from prekindergarten through postsecondary education, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons.

To browse the full report, please visit