Education on LI: Snapshot of public school enrollment by race

Next up in nextLI’s “Education on LI” series is an in-depth data dive on how the racial makeup of Long Island’s enrolled public student population has changed since 2004. Explore general student enrollment trends here and racial makeup trends here.

For consistency, our racial groupings are based on New York State Department of Education definitions of race. We’ve also combined American Indian or Alaska Native population with the multiracial population into an “Other” category, due to their small population sizes on Long Island.

Long Island’s total enrolled K-12 public student population in 2018 was 426,571 –– 50.4% white, 28.9% Hispanic or Latino, 9.4% Black, 9.1% Asian and 2.2% other (multiracial and American Indian or Alaska Native).

nextLI’s analysis found there were significant gaps in the enrolled white student population and Hispanic student population from 2004.

While the white population has lost more than a quarter of its enrollment population over 14 years, the Hispanic population has doubled theirs in the same time frame.

Other racial groups have mostly increased their share of the public school enrollment population, except for a slight retraction in Black student enrollment.

This is significant, since it directly juxtaposes the gradual rise in LI’s Black population over the past few years.

Enrollment growth by racial group, indexed to 2004

While most racial groups have increased enrollment from 2004, the white student population had a difference of 114,000 students from 2004 and the Black student population had a difference of 13,000 students.

LI public school enrollment racial makeup (2004)

LI public school enrollment racial makeup (2018)

That’s a nearly 20% drop in white enrollment and moderate 2% drop for Black enrollment. In turn, Hispanic enrollment doubled its share and Asian enrollment nearly doubled theirs too, while “Other” enrollment grew 13 times larger than its population from 2004.

Wait, how did you get those numbers?

We use county- and district-level public school data from New York State’s department of Education database, and county- and school-level non-public school data from the state’s Information and Reporting Services archived database over the time period 2004 to 2018 (also provided by the state’s Department of Education).

nextLI’s snapshot defines total enrollment as K-12 student enrollment, and does not include homeschooled Long Islanders in the analysis. Note the population size of “Multiracial” and “American Indian or Alaska Native” groups are small compared to other demographics and any small fluctuation in the “Other” category results in large percentage changes.