During the 2012 school year, 1.8 million children were home-schooled in the U.S. a new report found. The figure represents 3.4 percent of the U.S. student population between the ages of 5 and 17.
The report from the National Center for Education Statistics, released Nov. 1 by the Department of Education, found that the number of home-schooled students had doubled since 1999, reports The Washington Post. The period of most rapid growth was between 1999 and 2007.
According to the report, 83 percent of those home-schooled are white, and 89 percent live above the poverty line. Children who are home-schooled are roughly evenly divided among rural areas, suburbs and cities.
The report notes that the 9 out of 10 parents who home-school their children report that a school’s environment was an important reason for their decision. In 2007, 36 percent of home-schooling parents cited “religious or moral instruction” as the chief reason for their decision. But in 2012, only 17 percent cited religious instruction as important, and 5 percent noted moral instruction.
Sociologists Philip Q. Yang and Nihan Kayaardi have studied the home-schooling population and found that it does not significantly differ from the general population, according to U.S. News & World Report. Home-schooled students do not generally share a religious or political affiliation, nor a financial or social status.
Home-schooling among black families is on the rise, reports NPR. The No. 1 driver of black parents deciding to home-school their children is racism.
"It was a mostly black school with mostly white teachers, which didn't really bother me until I saw the difference in how they treated certain kids -- especially boys," Camille Kirksey, who is black and home-schools her children, told NPR. "They seemed to be very harsh, kinda barking at them, ordering them around."
Kirksey has also shifted the focus of history lessons for her children. "As black people, I really want my children to understand that we are a huge part of history that is not always told."