Because the kids are out on weekday mornings waiting for the big yellow school buses and Labor Day is Monday, the census released new data this week on school restarting and what that means for metropolitan areas like Kansas City.
First of all, it’s a big economic boost for retailers. Parents and children in August 2014 spent an estimated $8.2 billion on clothing and $1.6 billion at bookstores. The census also notes that 78 million children and adults were enrolled in schools nationwide in October 2013.
The pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade public school enrollment was 48.3 million in 2012. The 2013 public school spending per student in the United States was $10,700.
In elementary and high schools, 25 percent of the students had at least one foreign-born parent in October 2013. The census notes that 12 million of the school-age children spoke a language other than English at home; 8.5 million spoke Spanish at home.
Adults had their choice of 4,605 colleges, universities and professional schools in the U.S. in 2013. Of the people in higher education in October 2013, 15 percent were age 35 and older, 33 percent attended school part time and 40 percent of the people in college or graduate school were ages 18 to 24.
College isn’t cheap, and students know it, forcing 20 percent to work full time, year round jobs while 52 percent of students worked less than full time, year round in 2011.
Among high school students, 146,000 in 2011 worked full time, year-round jobs while 3.1 million high school students worked less than full time year-round jobs.
Back to college, 12.8 million people age 25 and over held a bachelor’s degree in business in 2013. That’s a popular field. Business degrees were reported by 20.5 percent of the population with a bachelor’s degree. Education was next at 13.2 percent; followed by science and engineering related fields at 9.1 percent; engineering at 7.8 percent; social sciences at 7.7 percent; biological, agricultural and environmental sciences at 6.1 percent; and liberal arts and history at 5.1 percent.
Oddly in 2012, 74 percent of the people with a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering or math, also known as STEM, were employed in STEM jobs.
For Labor Day, the census also notes that staying in school pays off. The average earnings of full-time, year-round workers 18 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2012 was $82,720; the mean earnings for workers with a bachelor’s degree was $70,432.
In comparison, the mean earnings for full-time, year-round workers with a high school diploma, which includes GED certificates was $41,248. Workers with less than a ninth-grade education had an average earning of $26,679 in 2013.