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Twentieth Day Enrollment Data Reflects Smaller Decrease than prior years with 322,000 Students for SY23

29 September 2022

Demographics of CPS’ FY2023 students remains relatively stable; District saw a total 2.5 percent enrollment decline since last year amid ongoing efforts to re-engage students following the pandemic 

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CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today released its enrollment figures as of the 20th day of the current school year, reflecting a smaller overall decrease in the student population than prior years and student demographics that are continuing recent patterns for a total of 322,106 pre-K-12th grade students. 

“Our 20th day enrollment data offers an opportunity to review our student count while we continue to move forward with more consistent in-person instructional time this school year than we have had during the past two challenging years,”  said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “These numbers reflect many changes, but they also present an opportunity for us to review our practices and ensure we are providing the very best in programming and services to our students of today as well as tomorrow.” 

The 20th day enrollment data establishes the official count for the school year, though actual enrollment remains fluid throughout the year. The data provides information to help District and school leaders plan for the coming school year. 

The data, presented at today’s Board of Education meeting, show the District’s racial composition remains largely unchanged with an overall 3.1 percent decrease in the Black student population and 2.8 percent decrease in the LatinX student population, similar to last year’s declines for those groups.  The number of Multiracial students continued to increase with a 5.4 percent jump.  

Overall, the District saw the biggest declines among elementary students and specifically, among fifth, seventh and eighth grade students. While the data continues to be analyzed,it's important to point out that overall there are fewer children living in Chicago and the market share of CPS versus private schools has remained fairly constant over the past 15 years, according to Census data.

The number of preschoolers, meanwhile, grew by 6.3 percent over last year to more than 16,403 students as the District works toward its goal of providing access to free preschool in all 77 of Chicago’s neighborhoods. Overall, the District has seen a 42.7 percent increase in preschool enrollment since SY21. 

 At the same time, Cook County and Illinois are seeing the same decline in the birth rate as other parts of the country with about 25,000 fewer births in 2020 than in 2015, including 4,500 fewer births during that time frame in Cook County, according to the Illinois Department of Health birth statistics. Annual birth rates in Chicago fell by approximately 11,000 in a similar time frame; from 2009 to 2019. 

The past two years have seen dramatic swings in the reasons students report leaving the District, but this year’s data is more in line with what the District  saw in SY18 and SY19. The number of students graduating high school increased again in 2022 (with graduation rates to be shared next month) and is comparable to the number of graduates three and four years ago, before the pandemic.  As of the 20th day this school year,  we saw a dramatic 19.2 percent decrease in the number of transfers outside of Chicago, returning that number to what we saw in prior years, as well as a 19.6 percent decrease in the number of students transferring to non-public Chicago schools. After a spike in students leaving the district to be homeschooled, we saw that percentage drop by more than half this year, though the move to home schools has not returned to its lower pre-pandemic levels.

Today’s presentation also showcased CPS attendance rates for the first four weeks of school, showing an increase compared to last year over the same duration. The District’s overall attendance rate for these first four weeks was 91.6 percent, with District-managed schools showing a slightly higher attendance rate of 92 percent.