The Changing Face Of School Integration

In Education On
- Updated

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — The number of children attending U.S. public schools with students of other races has nearly doubled over the past quarter-century, a little-noticed surge that reflects the nation’s shifting demographics, a Washington Post analysis has found.

At the same time, children in most big cities and many suburbs remain locked in deeply segregated districts, with black students more likely to be enrolled in segregated districts than Hispanics or whites, The Post found.

In 2017, 10.8 million children attended highly integrated public schools, up from 5.9 million in 1995, an 83 percent increase that stems largely from rising diversity outside metropolitan areas.

The finding reflects profound demographic change, as Latinos move into small towns and suburbs that once were overwhelmingly white. These places, The Post found, are far more likely to have schools that mirror the new diversity of their communities than their big-city counterparts, which have long been home to a diverse population but have run schools that are profoundly segregated.

While segregation in parts of America has persisted, the number of students affected has inched up only slightly. Out of 46.4 million public school students, about 5.8 million attended schools that were not integrated in 2017.

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