Public School Statistics for 1879

Public School Statistics for 1879

The federal government has collected data on the population and institutions for more than 100 years. These data provide demographic information, but they also assist policymakers and other leaders in planning for the future. The following statistics on the school populations by selected state were reported by the federal government in 1879.

A chart showing data on school age children from several states. The chart shows the range of school ages for each state, as well as school population, number enrolled in public schools, average daily attendance, and average duration of school in days.

aIn 1878. bIn 1876. cFor colored population, the school age is from 6 to 16. dIn 1877. eIn 1873.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau. (2006). Statistical abstract of the United States: 2006. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Your Task: Using these statistics, answer the following questions to compare attendance and length of school years in 1879 to today.


1. How do the ages of students in 1879 compare with the ages of students in schools today?

2. What percentage of the school-aged population was enrolled in schools in 1879 in the states above?

3. How many months did students in schools in 1879 attend school? How does the length of the school year compare with the time spent in schools today?

4. What percentage of the enrolled students in 1879 attended school daily?

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