Which States are Seeing the Biggest Interest in Homeschooling Amongst Parents?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the face of education and caused many parents to reassess their choice of schooling for their children.

Whether parents are experiencing safety concerns of exposure to the coronavirus, dissatisfaction with the quality of education kids are receiving, or even philosophical differences with school leadership, the outcome is the same — interest in homeschool has soared since the start of the pandemic.

One study found 72.2% of families who started homeschooling their kids during the pandemic wouldn’t be returning to public schools. Another study prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year revealed that 9% of parents who weren’t previously homeschooling their kids were planning to give it a shot this year.

Additionally, many homeschooling coalitions have been reporting a massive increase in calls and emails from parents who want to learn more about potentially homeschooling their children. And many homeschool apps are seeing an increase in downloads.

And with no end in sight to this pandemic and more school closures potentially on the horizon due to the Omicron variant, many parents are still considering the switch to homeschooling as we head into 2022.

But is this growing interest in homeschooling something that’s consistent all across the United States? Or is it more prevalent in some regions of the country than others?

We partnered with Mindnet Analytics, a data science consulting firm, to compare interest in homeschooling across all 50 states, combining search trends with publicly available demographic data.

Here’s what we found…

 

Overview

homeschool interest map

State Rankings of Homeschooling Interest

State Interest Score
Alaska 100
Idaho 95
Vermont 92
South Dakota 91
Arkansas 88
Delaware 87
Kansas 87
Montana 87
New Mexico 87
West Virginia 87
Hawaii 86
Missouri 86
South Carolina 86
Tennessee 86
Maryland 85
Oregon 85
Virginia 85
Iowa 84
Kentucky 84
Mississippi 84
New Hampshire 84
North Carolina 84
Washington 84
Wyoming 84
Louisiana 83
Maine 83
Nebraska 83
New York 83
Ohio 83
Oklahoma 83
Wisconsin 83
Alabama 82
Georgia 82
Minnesota 82
Arizona 81
Colorado 81
Connecticut 81
Illinois 81
Michigan 81
Pennsylvania 81
North Dakota 80
Utah 80
California 79
Florida 79
Indiana 79
Massachusetts 79
Nevada 79
Texas 79
New Jersey 78
Rhode Island 77
District of Columbia 76

 

Key Findings

Our analysis revealed a number of interesting findings about the growth of homeschooling interest across the US:

 

States with Higher Average Education are More Interested in Homeschooling

education levels homeschool interest

The strongest correlation we found was between education level and interest in how to homeschool kids. This is backed by previous studies, including a 2015 report from the US Department of Education, showing that higher educated parents are likelier to homeschool their kids compared to those with less education.

 

Republican States are a Little More Interested in Homeschooling

political alignment homeschool interest

We also found a relatively strong correlation between political identity and homeschooling interest. Simply put, red states are likelier to have parents interested in homeschooling their children than blue states.

This aligns with previous voter surveys that found 62% of homeschool parents reported voting for the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016 while 61% voted for Romney in 2021.

 

States with Lower Income are More Interested in Homeschooling

income homeschool interest

Perhaps the most surprising finding we uncovered is that homeschooling interest is higher right now in lower income states.

This is interesting because previously homeschooling families were much likelier to report earning an average or above-average income. But after months of dealing with this pandemic, this is no longer the case. Now, we’re seeing a much more economically diverse homeschooling population, and interest amongst those in lower income brackets seems to be on the rise.

In fact, a recent United States Census Bureau survey found that “20 percent of US homeschool households had yearly incomes of less than $25,000, 17.8 percent experienced incomes between $25,000 and $34,999, [and] 19.5 percent between $35,000 to 49,999”.

 

Our Methodology

We used search volume data from Google Trends to measure interest in homeschooling in the US. To capture multiple forms of search queries about homeschooling we extracted and averaged the search frequencies for various terms indicating searcher interest in homeschooling.

In each visualization, we rescaled the search interest variable so that “100” represents the state with the most search interest (or the time with the most search interest in the case of the time series visualization).

To assess correlations with demographics, we merged in state-level demographic information on political party, income, and education levels. Official 2020 presidential voting records were obtained from the MIT Election Data + Science Lab. To assess the percent of the population in each state that voted Democratic we calculated the vote share for Democratic candidates in each state. The information we obtained on median household income per state and education level was originally collected by the US Census Bureau, averaged over 2015 through 2019.

Technical notes: To assess the correlations between these three demographic variables and homeschooling interest we fitted a multivariate OLS regression model with homeschooling search interest predicted by the three demographic variables. These results confirm that the association with education is the strongest and most robust.

 

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