If you’ve ever wondered how many schools there are in the U.S., read on! You’ll also learn school statistics like how many are private vs. public, the number of charter and magnet schools, the percentage of schools that fall under Title I, and much more.
All the following data is according to MDR Education as of 2022.
How many schools are there in the U.S.?
All together, there are 115,576 schools in the United States. This includes all K-12 public and private schools, plus adult education and career/technical schools. With the current U.S. population of about 333 million people, that breaks down to one school for every 2,881 people.
School Numbers by Grade Levels
There are 11,355 public and private schools in the U.S. that cover all grades K-12 (that’s just under 10% of schools). Otherwise, most students attend schools broken down by grade level.
Elementary schools are generally defined as kindergarten through fifth grade, though some include sixth grade and some continue to eighth grade. There are 64,665 elementary schools in the U.S., public and private. Many school districts have multiple “feeder” elementary schools whose students come together to attend larger middle and high schools.
Middle schools and junior high schools serve students in between elementary and high school. Generally, a middle school serves sixth through eighth graders, while a junior high has only seventh and eighth graders. Some junior highs may also include ninth grade. In the U.S., there are 12,517 middle schools and 2,209 junior high schools, both public and private, for a total of 14,726 schools serving this age group.
High schools (sometimes called senior high schools) usually cover ninth through twelfth grades, and there are a total of 20,469, both public and private, in the U.S. That’s about one high school for every 3.15 elementary schools.
State and County Schools
Many states operate educational organizations that provide instruction to the public, with 4,471 of these schools currently open in the U.S. These are primarily in the form of special services in special education or career and technical education, such as state-run schools for the deaf and the blind.
Individual counties within states may also run their own schools, often to provide special services such as special needs, adult, and career and technical education. Some county schools are administered by county superintendents’ offices; others are independent. The U.S. has 1,314 county schools.
Other Types of Schools
Special Education Schools
Special education schools serve students with special needs, such as learning, behavioral, or physical disabilities. While many students with disabilities attend their local public schools, some attend special schools that can better focus on helping them succeed. The U.S. has 2,683 special education schools, about 2% of the total number.
Career and Technical Schools
Career and technical schools offer their students real-world job skills. These are often replacements for some or all of the traditional high school years, with a goal of giving students hands-on experience so they’re ready to start their careers immediately after receiving their high school diploma. There are 1,262 career and technical schools in the country today.
Adult Education Schools
Some schools specifically serve adults instead of children. They may help students learn a new language, earn their GED, or explore enrichment topics. The U.S. has 416 schools specifically dedicated to adult education.
How many schools are public vs. private?
There are 90,148 public schools in the U.S. This category includes organizations that provide free instruction to the public, operated by a public school district. These schools may be for elementary- and secondary-age children, adult education, career and technical education, and special needs students. Public schools make up 78% of all American schools.
Some federally funded public schools in the U.S. are located on Indian reservations and are run by local Native American tribal councils. These are known as Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, and they’re part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). There are 166 of these schools in the United States.
Private and Catholic schools account for about 17% of U.S. schools, with 13,894 private (non-Catholic) schools and 5,583 Catholic schools. These schools usually require students to pay tuition and may cover grades K-12, including special needs. They also include privately run career/technical and adult education organizations.
Charter and Magnet School Numbers
Magnet and charter schools are both publicly funded schools. Magnet schools are part of the traditional public school system, but they usually offer a specific focus on subjects like STEM or the performing arts. There are 2,073 magnet schools in the U.S., with 691 schools that focus specifically on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). They make up about 2.3% of public schools.
Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run. Rather than being bound by state education laws, these schools create their own contracts (known as “charters”). The U.S. currently has 8,424 charter schools, just over 7% of the total number of schools.
Other School Statistics
Title I Schools
Title I schools are those that receive additional federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education due to the high percentage of low-income families they serve. About 47% of public schools currently qualify for Title I funding, with a total of 54,632 schools benefiting from the program.
Blue Ribbon Schools
The U.S. Department of Education also recognizes Blue Ribbon schools. These include both public and private schools that either attain overall high academic achievement or help to close the achievement gap for under-achieving populations. Blue Ribbon schools are recognized once a year, with 291 named in the U.S. in 2022, making up just 0.25 percent of all schools in the country.
Though most schools hold classes 180 days a year, with a substantial break during the summer, there are 2,063 year-round schools. That’s just under 2% of all U.S. schools.
Virtual schools have gained popularity in recent years. These schools are held entirely online and allow students to attend classes in an environment that suits their personal needs. There are 898 virtual schools currently open in the U.S.