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Chicago Public Schools Enrollment Shows Increase for First time in More than a Decade

29 September 2023

District analysis shows increase among several groups of students

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
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CHICAGO — During Thursday’s Chicago Board of Education meeting at Austin College & Career Academy High School, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) shared 20th day enrollment and attendance data, showing a slight (0.4 percent) increase in the student population to 323,291 students, as well as a steady attendance rate of 92 percent during the first four weeks of school. The enrollment figure reflects student growth in the District’s expanded preschool programming, growth at the elementary school level, as well as steady high school enrollment. This represents the first increase in the District’s enrollment in 12 years.

“It’s important to note that there are many reasons that we were able to maintain and even slightly improve our enrollment this year, including the fact that fewer students left our system,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “We’ll continue to study this data to determine how we can best serve our current and future students.”

Thursday night’s presentation noted several groups that have seen increases in students as well as other shifts and findings, including:

  • A 7.2 percent increase since SY23 in the number of preschool students as the District expands free full-day preschool for all four year olds across the city.
  • A 32.2 percent decline in the number of students who transferred to schools outside Chicago, as well as an 18.5 percent decline in students who transferred to non-public schools in Chicago between SY22 and SY24.
  • The racial make-up of the District’s student population remains relatively the same.

The District’s racial composition did not significantly change; there was a 1.3 percent increase in Latino students, who now make up 47 percent of CPS students. Meanwhile, Black students make up 35 percent of the population and saw a 1.8 percent decrease, though this decline is roughly half the size of the declines the District has seen in Black student enrollment for the prior five years. Asian students increased by one percentage point to five percent of the population. The percentage of white students remained the same at 11 percent. Multiracial students remain at two percent while “students of other races” make up eight percent of the District.

Students in several priority groups grew with the exception of low-income students, which saw a 2.5 percent decline, which the District will continue to analyze. Last school year (SY23), the official 20th day count for English Learners was 72,029, representing 22.4 percent of students. That population grew by 10 percent to 79,833 in FY24. The number of students identified as “Diverse Learners” saw a 5.2 percent growth to nearly 52,000 students. Students in Temporary Living Situations grew most significantly with nearly 12,000 students identified in that category in FY24.

The majority of CPS’ English Learners speak Spanish, but among the new students enrolling in the District this year, there was an increase in students whose home language is Russian, Ukrainian, and Arabic. Across the District, CPS students cite more than 180 home languages.

Enrollment data will be available on the District's website.