Enrollment for Chicago Public Schools is down 10,000 students this year, marking one more year of decline in a decade where the student population has dropped by nearly 74,000.
There are many reasons for the long-term declines, but the pandemic is clearly a factor. Increasing numbers of families are moving to the suburbs or out of state, being homeschooled or transferring to private schools. These losses aren’t being offset with robust new enrollment, leading to a 3% drop in students this fall. Official enrollment is now 330,411 students, CPS officials said this week.
Experts say demographic changes also are a factor. Chicago has 200,000 fewer children than 20 years ago. Since 2010, the city has lost about 76,000 children under 18, according to 2020 U.S. Census data.
The enrollment declines are felt across the city. In the past, they were more concentrated in Black South and West side neighborhoods.
Charmaine Runes is WBEZ’s data/visuals reporter. Follow her @maerunes.