Posted on March 30, 2016

The Overwhelming Whiteness of U.S. Private Schools, in Six Maps and Charts

Emma Brown, Washington Post, March 29, 2016

Students in the nation’s private schools are disproportionately–and in some states overwhelmingly–white.

While that’s not entirely surprising, a new analysis from the Southern Education Foundation quantifies the continued segregation of white students in private schools, particularly in the South, where private-school enrollment jumped in the 1950s and 1960s as white families sought to avoid attending integrated public schools.

Here’s a snapshot of the study’s findings:

1. Private schools are whiter than the overall school-age population in most states, particularly in the South and the West.


This map shows the gap between the percentage of all school-aged children who are white vs. the percentage of private-school students who are white. The biggest gap is in Mississippi, where in 2012, white students comprised 51 percent of all school-aged students but 87 percent of private-school students–a gap of 36 percentage points. The average national gap that year was about 15 percentage points.

2. Black, Latino and Native American students are underrepresented in private schools, also particularly in the South and West.


3. Private schools are more likely than public schools to be virtually all-white, defined as a school where 90 percent or more of students are white. Forty-three percent of the nation’s private school students attended virtually all-white schools, compared to 27 percent of public-school students.