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US Elementary and Secondary Education Statistics: US Elementary/Secondary Education Statistics in Data Planet Statistical Datasets

Provides a guide to statistics on elementary and secondary education in the United States.

About US Public Elementary/Secondary Education Statistics

Many of the statistical datasets on US public elementary and secondary schools that are available in the Data-Planet repository are drawn from the Department of Education’s Common Core of Data (CCD) database, a comprehensive, annual, national statistical database of all public elementary and secondary schools and school districts, which contains data that are designed to be comparable across all states.

CCD contains three categories of information: general descriptive information on schools and school districts; data on students and staff; and fiscal data. The general descriptive information includes name, address, phone number, and type of locale; the data on students and staff include selected demographic characteristics; and the fiscal data cover revenues and current expenditures.

CCD is made up of a set of five surveys sent to state education departments. Most of the data are obtained from administrative records maintained by the state education agencies (SEAs). Statistical information is collected annually from approximately 100,000 public elementary and secondary schools and approximately 18,000 public school districts (including supervisory unions and regional education service agencies) in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Schools, and the outlying areas.

Data-Planet CCD datasets include the following:

  • Public School Census Detail and Public School Census Summary, which provide information on all public elementary and secondary schools in operation during a school year including school location and type; enrollment by grade and student characteristics; and the number of classroom teachers.
  • Public Elementary/Secondary School Finance, which provides detailed data by local education agency, including revenues by source and expenditures by function and subfunction.
  • School Dropouts and Completions, which provides data by local education agency on the aggregate (grades 9-12) numbers of students dropping out of school and graduation rates. The Department of Education releases data at the aggregate level, rather than by individual grade levels, to protect the privacy of students. Researchers can apply for a restricted-use license to obtain more granular data. You’ll also notice that this data is quite dated: as of 01/2016, the most recent data available are for the 2009-10 school year.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics. Common Core of Data (CCD). Accessed January 13, 2016,

Statistics on Private Education in the US

The NCES also collects data on private elementary and secondary schools in the United States in its Private School Universe Survey (PSS). PSS grew out of a proposal in 1988 to develop a private school data collection that would improve on the sporadic collection of private school data dating back to 1890 and improve on commercially available private school sampling frames. PSS was first collected in the 1989–1990 school year, with data collections every two years since. The target population for PSS is all schools in the US that are not supported primarily by public funds, provide classroom instruction for one or more of grades kindergarten through 12 (or comparable ungraded levels), and have one or more teachers. Organizations or institutions that provide support for homeschooling but do not provide classroom instruction are not included. 

Access to Data Planet

Data Planet is available via IP (and proxy server) authentication at The Data Planet interface allows users to browse available datasets by subject and source and to manipulate variables to create customized views of the data, as well as to search for statistics of interest via Quick and/or Advanced Search.

(EZproxy users, please visit here.)

Using Elementary and Secondary Education Statistics in Data Planet Statistical Datasets

Browse the datasets available on Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Education in the Browse by Subject listing under Education:

The chart below shows a trend view of the growth in number of charter schools in Pennsylvania based on data from the School Census Summary:


The chart below ranks Pennsylvania counties by number of students attending charter schools using data from the School Census Detail dataset:

The statistics available in the Data-Planet repository on public education typically report to the state, county, and local education agency, and some report by grade level and race. See the Criteria Panel below from the School Census Detail dataset and review the many options for comparison:


You can also use the multi-select function to create specific comparisons.For example, the chart below compares expenditure trends on regular vs special education teacher salaries in North and South Carolina. To select multiple indicators, hold down the control (Ctrl) key when clicking on the second (or third) item in the criteria panel. 

You can also compare across indicators in other datasets. The possibilities are myriad!

Keep in mind that the graphs you create do not necessarily imply causality: the results may suggest a potential relationship between the variables you select, which may be an interesting line of inquiry for your own research.


 For more information on using Data-Planet Statistical Datasets, see .


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