Quantcast

Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union

City

 

The back-to-school experience in New York City depends on who you are and where you live. The most obvious distinction is between public and private school. Public schools educate about 1.14 million of the city's kids, or more than 80 percent of the total student-age population. The remaining 266,000 students go to private school.

An analysis of recently released data from the 2000 census confirms what any educator will tell you: Private school kids are far richer and whiter than their public school counterparts.

The schools that many New Yorkers conjure up when they think of "private school" -- Fieldston, Horace Mann, Brearley, Dalton and Collegiate, and perhaps two-dozen other such institutions -- actually serve only a small fraction of those who go to private schools. The vast majority of private school students are enrolled in schools associated with either the New York Archdiocese, which has about 115,000 students in 293 schools in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island (as well some suburbs), or the Brooklyn Diocese, with 70,000 in 178 Brooklyn and Queens schools. There are also a large range of religiously-affiliated schools, including Yeshivas.

The United States Census Bureau makes no distinction between independent private schools and those that are religiously affiliated.
This makes the statistics even more startling.

2000 NYC SCHOOL KIDS
%TOTAL
%PUBLICĂŠ
%PRIVATEĂŠ
h
1,409,221
1,142,935
266,286
h
h
81.1%
23.3%
RACE AND HISPANIC STATUSh
WHITE NON-HISPANIC
22.8%
15.9%
52.6%
BLACK NON-HISPANIC
30.3%
32.8%
19.4%
AMIND NON-HISPANIC
0.4%
0.4%
0.3%
All OTHERS NON-HISPANIC
12.3%
13.3%
8.0%
HISPANIC
34.2%
37.6%
19.7%
SPEAK NON ENGLISH LANGUAGE AT HOME (FIVE YEARS OLD OR OLDER)
YES
48.6%
50.3%
41.1%
ABILITY TO SPEAK ENGLISH AMONG THOSE WHO SPEAK NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE AT HOME (FIVE YEARS OLD OR OLDER)
VERY WELLĂŠ
67.5%
66.6%
72.0%
WELLĂŠ
22.3%
23.1%
18.3%
NOT WELLĂŠ
9.0%
9.1%
8.7%
NOT AT ALL
1.2%
1.2%
1.0%
CITIZEN STATUS
BORN U.SĂŠ
80.5%
78.3%
89.9%
BORN OUTLYING
1.3%
1.5%
0.4%
ABROAD/AM PAR
1.0%
0.9%
1.4%
NATURALIZED CITIZEN
3.6%
3.9%
2.2%
NON-CITIZEN
13.6%
15.4%
6.1%
HOUSEHOLD TYPE
FAMILY MARRIED COUPLE
56.0%
51.8%
73.9%
FAMILY MALE HEAD
5.7%
6.1%
4.0%
FAMILY FEMALE HEAD
38.0%
41.7%
21.8%
NON-FAMILY MALE HEAD WITH OTHERS
0.2%
0.2%
0.2%
NON-FAMILY FEMALE HEAD WITH OTHERS
0.2%
0.2%
0.1%
EMPLOYMENT STATUS BY FAMILY TYPE
NOT IN FAMILY HOUSEHOLD
0.3%
0.4%
0.3%
MARRIED COUPLE/BOTH IN LABOR FORCE
26.8%
24.4%
37.2%
MARRIED COUPLE/HUSB IN LABOR FORCE
17.6%
15.7%
25.7%
MARRIED COUPLE/WIFE IN LABOR FORCE
4.2%
4.2%
4.4%
MARRIED COUPLE/BOTH NILABOR FORCEĂŠ
7.4%
7.6%
6.6%
MALE HEAD/IN LABOR FORCE
3.9%
4.1%
2.8%
MALE HEAD/NILABOR FORCEĂŠ
1.8%
2.0%
1.2%
FEM HEAD/IN LABOR FORCEĂŠ
21.5%
23.1%
14.5%
FEM HEAD/NILABOR FORCEĂŠ
16.5%
18.6%
7.2%
HOUSEHOLD INCOME
UNDER $20,000ĂŠ
29.4%
32.5%
15.9%
$20,000-29,999ĂŠ
12.6%
13.5%
8.7%
$30,000-39,999ĂŠ
11.5%
12.1%
8.8%
$40,000-49,999ĂŠ
9.2%
9.3%
8.6%
$50,000-74,999ĂŠ
16.8%
16.2%
19.7%

Private vs. Public School Students

As the chart indicates:
*About 53 percent of private school kids are (non-Hispanic) white, but only 16 percent of public school kids are white.
*Public school kids are twice as likely to come from households with less than $30,000 per year of income. But more than a third of private school kids are from households with incomes above $75,000, while only a sixth of public kids come from such households. Some eight percent of private school kids live in households with incomes above $200,000, while only about one percent of public school kids do.
*The families of private school kids are more intact, with almost three-quarters of them living in married couple families, while little more than half of all public school kids live in such households.
*Private school kids are more likely to use English at home, and more likely to have their parents in the work force.

Neighborhood Differences

This overall demographic portrait of NYC's school kids masks the fact that there are very large variations if sorted by neighborhoods. In Brooklyn, over 60 percent of the kids who live in community board 12, which is in and around the orthodox Jewish area of Borough Park, go to private school, while in community board 4, which includes heavily Hispanic Bushwick, only about 6 percent of kids go to private school.

Generally speaking though, the affluent neighborhoods are the ones with the highest private school enrollment, especially in Manhattan. Only 12 percent of students in Harlem (community board 10) attend private school, while on the Upper East Side (community board 8), it is 66 percent.

Other Manhattan neighborhoods:
Washington Heights - 11 percent
Greenwich Village - 44 percent
East Harlem - 14 percent
Murray Hill - 53 percent
Upper West Side - 39 percent

In Queens, almost all community board districts send close to the city-wide average of 20 percent to private school. In Staten Island, all districts have between 20 and 30 percent of students in private school. In the Bronx only the Co-Op City Throgs Neck area (District 10) has more than 30 percent of its school kids in private schools.

Simply put, areas in Manhattan that have high proportions of whites have high proportions of kids in private school. In the areas of Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens where there are very few white school kids, the proportion of students in private school is much lower. In mixed areas, where there are some white school kids but also blacks or both, then the private schools are much less diverse than the public schools. In all neighborhoods, as with the city as a whole, private school kids are more affluent and come from more intact families than do public school kids.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and provides expert testimony on a range of cases, including housing discrimination. The opinions expressed are his alone.


Editor's Choice


Everything Dot NYC Council 2.0: Rules Reform Outlines Next Steps in Open Data Overdue & Over Budget, Capital Projects Roll On

Comments
Comment(s)

The comments section is provided as a free service to our readers. Gotham Gazette's editors reserve the right to delete any comments. Some reasons why comments might get deleted: inappropriate or offensive content, off-topic remarks or spam.