United States Charter Schools


To understand the state of and opinions towards charter schools in the United States, including the number of students enrolled, awareness and perceptions of charter schools, factors influencing parental decisions regarding enrollment, and trends in the industry.

Early Findings


  • As of the 2015-2016 school year, there were 6,855 charter schools in the United States, up from 6,747 during the previous school year. This is a growth of just under two percent. Given this, and assuming a similar growth rate in the years since, there are approximately 7,421 charter schools currently operating in the United States.
  • Students enrolled in charter schools account for about six percent of the total public school population.
  • In 2016, there were about 2.8 million students enrolled in charter schools in the United States.
  • "In 2017-18, more than 7,000 charter schools enroll nearly 3.2 million students. Between 2016-17 and 2017-18, estimated charter school enrollment increased by more than 150,000 students."
  • As of the 2017-18 school year, there were 17 states (plus Washington D.C.) with more than 100 charter schools, and nine states with "between 50 and 99 charter schools".
  • "Student enrollment in charter schools grew more than 70 percent from 200910 to 2015–16."
  • Enrollment at charter schools is more diverse than that of the general public school population. For example, 50 percent of the public school population is white and 15 percent black, while in charter schools the population is 33 and 27 percent respectively.
  • "At 33 percent of charter schools, more than 75 percent of students are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program. By contrast, at 24 percent of traditional public schools, more than 75 percent of students are eligible for the free or reduced price lunch program."
  • California is the state with the highest enrollment in charter schools, with 630,000 students enrolled during the 2017-18 school year, representing a growth rate of five percent from the previous school year.
  • Although California has the most students enrolled in charter schools, Washington D.C. is the location with the highest percentage of public school students enrolled in charter schools at 43 percent, followed distantly by Arizona at 19 percent.
  • In total, 37 percent of charter schools in the country are located in the Western United States, and 56.5 percent are located in a city.


  • In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over one million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address your goals.

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