Pew report: Record numbers of Latinos in U.S. colleges, public schools
A Pew Hispanic Center report says the faces of public schools and colleges are changing.
August 20th, 2012
02:47 PM ET

Pew report: Record numbers of Latinos in U.S. colleges, public schools

By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

(CNN) - Latino student populations have been on an upward trajectory in the U.S. for decades, and a report released Monday says the group’s growth reached record levels last year, both in public schools and colleges.

The number of 18- to 24-year-old Latinos in college topped 2 million in 2011, accounting for 16.5% of all enrollments, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center. The number means Latino representation in U.S. colleges and universities is on par with the percentage of Latinos among the U.S. population, also 16.5%.

Record numbers of Latinos are also finishing college, with 112,000 earning associate degrees and 140,000 earning bachelor’s degrees. Pew states both statistics are new highs, yet Latinos still lag behind whites (1.2 million bachelor’s degrees and 553,000 associates) and blacks (165,000 bachelor’s and 114,000 associates) in degree attainment.

“Some of the growth in Hispanic college enrollments simply reflects continued growth in the nation’s Hispanic population - since 1972, the number of Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds has grown nearly five-fold, rising from 1.3 million then to 6 million in 2011,” the report said.

However, population alone cannot explain the numbers, as eligibility to attend college also is a factor. In 2011, 76% of Latinos age 18 to 24 had completed high school, another record and a 3.5% improvement over 2010 numbers.

At the pre-kindergarten-through-12th-grade level, Latinos made up 23.9% of students in 2011, another record, according to the report from the nonpartisan Washington-based think tank.

To break the 2011 numbers down further, Latinos made up 26% of the country’s nursery school and kindergarten students, 25% of elementary school students and 21% of high school students, the report states.

The number is primed to continue increasing for the next two decades, with the U.S. Census Bureau forecasting that Latinos will make up a third of the nation’s 3- to 17-year-old children by 2036.

The numbers confirm Latinos as the largest minority group on American campuses, and they show what appears to be a growing divide between Latino students and their African-American counterparts.

Black college enrollment in 2011 was down 3% from 2010, dropping from 1.69 million to 1.64 million, while Latino enrollment was up 15%, from 1.81 million to 2.08 million. At four-year colleges, Latino enrollment jumped from 1 million in 2010 to 1.2 million in 2011, while black enrollment held steady at 1.1 million.

While the numbers are records, according to Pew, Latino students have been outpacing blacks in some student population categories for years.

In 1975, 6.94 million adults who finished high school went to college. About 309,000 were Latino and 665,000 were black. Thirty years later, the overall number jumped to 10.83 million, with 1.22 million of them Latino and 1.3 million of them African-American.

Latinos first topped African-Americans in public school enrollment in 2001. Back then, the respective numbers were 8.82 million to 8.65 million. Today, the number is 12.45 million to 8.27 million, according to Pew.

And while there’s a starkly lower dropout rate among African-American youngsters (399,000, or 9%, of all students in 2011) than Latinos (975,000, or 16.3%, of all students), Latinos have been sending more kids to college for the last two years as well.

Some other figures from the report:

  • The number of white students in college jumped 3% between 2010 and 2011, from 7.66 million to 7.88 million. Meanwhile, the Asian student population plummeted 8%, from 811,000 to 748,000, in that same time.
  • While Latinos make up 25% of the public elementary school rolls, compared to blacks, who compose 14%, the numbers are closer once kids move to high school: Latinos 21% and blacks 16%.
  • There were 2.1 million Latino students in U.S. colleges last year, a 15% increase over 2010. The number increased 24% the year before. Latino enrollment made up 74% of the growth in total enrollments last year.
  • Last year marked the first time more Latinos than blacks enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities, but they have outnumbered blacks at two-year colleges since 2010.
  • Whites still rank No. 1 in high school completion, with at least 86% for the last 20 years, but Latinos and African-Americans are both closing the gap. While 88.3% of whites completed high school in 2011, 76.3% of Latinos and 81.4% of blacks could make the same claim. In 1993, the gap was far greater among whites (86.8%), Latinos (60.9%) and blacks (74.9%).
  • Despite a student population almost triple that of Hispanics, whites had a similar number of dropouts last year: 1 million out of 17.63 million white students and 975,000 out of 5.97 million Latino students.
  • With 1.72 million degrees (68.83% of all those conferred), whites earned more than twice as many bachelor’s and associate degrees as the other three groups combined - blacks (278,749 or 11.15%), Latinos (252,527 or 10.1%) and Asians (161,443 or 6.5%) - according to 2010 statistics. Whites, of course, make up roughly 72% of the U.S. population, compared with Latinos (about 16%) blacks (about 13%) and Asians (about 5%).

The Pew Hispanic Center report was put together using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education’s Digest of Education Statistics.

soundoff (484 Responses)
  1. doc

    72% of the kids in our school district get free lunches because their parents are too lazy to get off public assitance or welfare! Can you guess how many of these kids are not white?

    August 22, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Nabia

      You mean like the ones in Appalachia where the majority of people on public assistance is white?

      August 22, 2012 at 8:55 am |
      • Nabia is butthurt

        Someone needs to fling this bean back over the water.

        August 22, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  2. Randall12

    Time to put the National Guard into action, start a sweep in the northern states and work their way south – arresting and throwing illegals into prison. Illegals are draining our society of jobs and services. US welcomes legals, not illegals – arrest and toss them into prison.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • doc

      in my son's high scholl here in cetral Pennsylvania he told me that there are many latinos that cannot even speak English!! So they get extra attention so the ACLU doesn't come down on the school and my kids get less time with the their teachers!!

      August 22, 2012 at 8:42 am |
      • Nabia

        Hearsay from prejudiced minds. Well, it will be over soon when he brings home his Latina girlfriend or boyfriend, which ever way he wishes to swing.

        August 22, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  3. josh

    I wonder how much taxpayer money is wasted educating, feeding, and caring for the illegals?

    August 22, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Nabia

      I wonder how much tax money is kept from illegals, when their paychecks get taxed and they cant claim that money. Must be alot of cash in local, state and fed coffers (including social security). Why dont you google that, and learn something.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:59 am |
      • Nabia is butthurt

        There is no money kept from illegals hence why there freaking illegal, and whatever they do make they won't bank it, it's going back to Padre over in mexico so he can fund his drug smuggling or human smuggling operation, yea your stupid and inbred Nabia

        August 22, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  4. Beach828

    Google Rapto!

    August 22, 2012 at 5:22 am |
  5. Beach828

    If I were an illegal alien I would jump in school and become a doctor, that way I can plant myself in college for 10 years and enjoy the fruits of the American public.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:17 am |
  6. Beach828

    Sure more illegals are going to school in the United States because they know they can get a free education paid by the American public!

    August 22, 2012 at 5:09 am |
    • Nabia

      Trust me, by the comments read on this board that is not much of an advantage. The state of our schooling is horrendous.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  7. Juan

    This proves that the sacrifices of Hispanic mothers and fathers is now paying off. Their children and grand children are getting educations and on their way to achieving the American dream. This is good news not just for Latinos, but the country as a whole.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:51 am |
    • Nabia is butthurt

      Sacrifices? What waiting out 3 days to jump the border letting themselves get raped by coyotes, such a sacrifice! Play in traffic.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  8. BOSS

    This is what I want to read! Won't be to long before we have a Latino president. I could sink to the ignorance level these white bread racist are in, but I won't. Viva mi gente! Stay strong, represent, and drill em a new one!

    August 22, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • elbob248

      Latino is not a race, hence, no racism. You are Caucasion. Get over it.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:40 am |
      • Nabia

        You say Latino is not a race, yet you call him a Caucasian. Ahh, if ignorance is bliss, you must be ecstatic........

        August 22, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Logtaads01

      Your comment just shows you for the racist that you really are.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:45 am |
      • Nabia

        I think you need to learn what the definition of racism is. Google it. Define = racism, something to teach you since its apparent you are a little challenged.

        August 22, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Nabia is butthurt

      Boss should be deported asap

      August 22, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  9. MAC

    The biggest problem is bi-lingual education. My granddaughter's 8th Grade Graduation in California this June had its two speeches to the graduates given in Spanish with one speech translated to English. What are they going to do next teach college in Spanish?

    August 22, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • Nabia

      Would not be a bad idea, I guess you missed out on all the studies that show learning a second language improves mental capacity. Ooops, my bad, that might be too much for you to understand.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  10. Pancho

    We were here before you cabrones, so learn Spanish. ha ha. We do the jobs most are too lazy to do, and we are catching up on academics. Some people posting here sound a little worried. Viva la raza.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Haroldwolf

      We came, we saw, we conquered. You are the losers!

      August 22, 2012 at 12:26 am |
      • Nabia

        That's not what the news are saying.....

        August 22, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • Juanito

      No m@mes wey. Si quieres vivir en EU, hablas ingles. El año es 2012.
      Besides, spanish is a european language. Do you really take pride in the language of the country that conquered you?

      August 22, 2012 at 12:40 am |
      • Nabia

        No hay ley diciendo la ley official mamon, puedes hablar espanol si quereis. Se ha estado hablando espanol en el oeste por mas tiempo que ingles. Si no sabes eso, no conoces la historia de los Estados Unidos.
        Renta Ken Burns – the west, y educate.

        August 22, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Eve

      Catching up on academics? RRRRRRight.....I teach high school and Latinos test scores are the lowest of all groups except African Americans.

      August 22, 2012 at 12:41 am |
      • MAC

        It is Affirmative Action at its best.

        August 22, 2012 at 2:00 am |
      • Nabia

        But they are picking up, that is why we have people like Ellen Ochoa. Google her, might be good for you to learn something, instead of swimming in all the prejudice floating around in your head.

        August 22, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  11. Patrick Horan

    COOL!! Rather they be in collage then in gangs! Awesum!

    August 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  12. GEORGE

    How did that happen? When will we be able to find this mystery!!!!!

    August 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
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