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Blog: Public school enrollment drops heavily in rural areas

Blog: Public school enrollment drops heavily in rural areas


In the past 10 years, K-12 enrollment in Warren County dropped 15-20 percent, while Washington County fell 10-15 and Saratoga County dipped 5-10 percent, according to a report by Empire Center released on Tuesday.

The Empire Center studied enrollment in public schools for the 2017-18 school year and say New York's numbers are back to the 1989-90 levels.

The report stated enrollment from charter, pre-kindergarten and public schools for 2017-18 in the state is at 2,608,473, which is 15,222 less than the previous school year.

The state's all-time high was 3.5 million in 1970-71. It has declined about 1 million students to 1990, where it grew then peaked in 1999-2000.

Enrollment has dropped on average .5 percent per year and decreased a total of 250,000 since the turn of the century.

"At this rate, in a few more years, enrollment in New York schools could fall to levels last seen in the late 1950s," Empire Center reported.

Also, from 2000 to 2018, the national enrollment has increased 7 percent.

Empire Center created a map illustration that separated each county and its respective growth/decrease from 2007-08 to 2017-18. The trends over the past 10 years show every county has a decreased enrollment, except for some in the greater New York City area.

The map separated the enrollment change in six categories from enrollment growth to 0-5 percent loss and each of the following categories added 5 percent until 20-25 percent.

New York state counties' enrollment change

Only two counties lost 20-25 percent: Orleans County in western New York and Yates County in central New York.

To read the full Empire Center report, go to

Andrew David Kuczkowski is the education reporter. Andrew can be reached at 518-742-3354. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @ByKuczkowski.


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