How Many Students Attend Nonpublic K-12 Schools in New York City?

  • In school year 2012-2013, 241,900 students attended nonpublic schools, 19 percent of the city K-12 total.
  • Nonpublic school enrollment declined by 23,100 (9 percent) since 2002-2003.
  • Public charter school enrollment grew by more than 56,000 over those 10 years.
  • Enrollment at traditional Department of Education schools declined by almost 65,000 in those same years.

NOTE: We use the New York State Education Department’s categorization of school affiliations in this graph. All Other includes schools listed in 12 other affiliations, 11 of which are religious in nature.

  • Jewish schools now serve the largest number of students among nonpublic schools, with enrollment close to 95,000.
  • Enrollment at Jewish schools has eclipsed that of Roman Catholic schools, historically the most popular alternative to public schools.
  • Enrollment in Roman Catholic schools declined by over 47,000 students (35 percent) from 2002-2003 through 2012-2013.
  • Independent schools have grown by 6,600 students (19 percent) in those same years.

  • Over 60 percent of nonpublic school students are white, compared with 15 percent of students in traditional Department of Education schools and 3 percent of students in charter schools.
  • Hispanics form the largest group in traditional Department of Education schools, with over 40 percent of enrollment.
  • Black students account for 59 percent of charter school enrollment.
  • The racial/ethnic composition of particular types of nonpublic schools is related in part to the schools’ religious and cultural affiliations. For example, 95 percent of students in Jewish schools are white, compared with 36 percent of students in Roman Catholic schools and 56 percent in independent schools.

Prepared by Raymond Domanico
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: All data on nonpublic schools is available on the New York State Department of Education website. All numbers for Department of Education and charter schools were calculated by IBO from New York City Department of Education student data files.

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