Census Bureau projects 55.5 million students to return in the fall

At varying intervals, the U.S. Census Bureau dumps loads of data revealing random facts about our nation from the make-up of the new American family (more Brady Bunch" less "Leave it to Beaver") to the population density per square mile, which in Alaska is 1.2.

This week's census offering is all about back-to-school facts and figures.

For instance, 77 million children and adults were enrolled in school nationwide from nursery school to college in October of 2009. Meanwhile, school enrollment for grades one through twelve in 2008 was 49.3 million- down from the 50 million recorded in the 2000 data collection year.

The data released Monday, Facts for Features: Back to School 2011-12, is a nationwide snap-shot of data that educators and employers can use to forecast what's coming - for example - how many students might be eligible for federal lunch programs, how many high school graduates colleges can expect to serve, and what businesses might expect in the way of an educated workforce.

The U.S. Census data from 2008 is updated regularly with information collected monthly through Current Population Surveys conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in some 50,000 households. The surveys are used as a tool to measure the economic situation in the U.S and collect such data as the number of people living at home, sex, race, marital status, occupation, plus other topics such as school enrollment and attainment.

Here's a wrap of Monday's education fun-facts:

  • The projected number of students to be enrolled in the nation's elementary through high schools (pre-kindergarten - 12th grade) this fall: 55.5 million.

  • Projected percentage of elementary through high school students (pre-kindergarten - 12th grade) enrolled in private schools this fall: 11 percent.

  • Projected number of high school diplomas that will be awarded in the 2011-12 school year: 3.2 million.

  • Percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in school in October 2009: 52 percent.

  • Percentage of children 3 to 6 enrolled in kindergarten who attended all day, as of October 2009: 74 percent.

  • Percentage of elementary through high school students who belonged to a minority population as of October 2009: 43 percent.

  • Number of school-aged children (5 to 17) who spoke a language other than English at home in 2009: 11.2 million (8 million of those spoke Spanish).

  • Average number of children participating each month in the National School Lunch Program in 2009: 31.3 million.

  • Number of public schools in 2008-09: 98,706 (there were 33,740 private schools)

  • The number of public charter schools nationwide in 2008-09: 4,694.

  • Number of teachers in the United States in 2009: 7.2 million.

  • The per-pupil expenditure on public elementary and secondary education nationally in 2009: $10,499.

  • The amount of money spent on back to school clothing and supplies in August 2010: $7.4 billion.

  • And the totally number of apples that students might present to their teachers: 9.21 billion.

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