Education on LI: Racial makeup of schools changing

In 2019, Newsday’s three-year investigation into racial segregation tested real estate agent practices with prospective Long Islanders and unveiled a persisting racial divide in Long Island’s housing system based in part on schooling as a selling point for new residents.

nextLI has covered general school enrollment changes in our recent “Education on LI” post. Next we’ll dive into racial demographic trends from 2004 to 2018 in public schooling.

The overall takeaway: Demographic shifts in Long Island’s student population mirror an increasingly diverse region and next generation of Long Islanders. However, trends show multi-racial and Hispanic or Latino populations are filling enrollment gaps from an increasingly smaller white population. While most non-white groups are becoming bigger, the Black population is the notable exception.

Take a deeper dive into the numbers with our pre-COVID snapshot. For a refresher on how nextLI defines race and ethnicity, click here.

General conclusions from the data:

  • There are fewer white residents going to public schools on LI.
  • Non-white student populations have grown and filled public school enrollment gaps.
  • There are fewer Black students enrolled in public schools on LI, despite the overall Black population on LI gradually increasing over the past few years (according to Census data).
  • There’s increasing diversity in LI’s public school enrollment populations, with more significant spikes in the Hispanic and “Other” (mostly multi-racial) demographic groups.

In public schools, from 2004 to 2018:

  • Asian enrollment has nearly doubled.
  • Hispanic enrollment has doubled.
  • Other (but mostly multi-racial) enrollment has increased its share of the public school enrollment population more than tenfold (0.16% in 2004 to 2.22% in 2018).
  • Black enrollment has declined slightly.
  • White enrollment has drastically fallen, losing close to a quarter of their total share of public student enrollment from 2004.