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51% of All Calif. K-12 Students Are Hispanic

| March 20, 2012
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From California Watch

California enrolls the most Hispanics in K-12 schools in the country: nearly 3.4 million in 2010, according to an analysis of census data released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Hispanics made up 51 percent of all K-12 students in the state – the second-highest proportion of overall enrollment in the nation, behind New Mexico’s 57 percent.

The analysis, based on data from the 2010 American Community Survey, also found that Hispanics attained lower levels of education than their non-Hispanic white and black peers.

About 3 out of 10 Californians ages 25 and older held a bachelor’s degree or more. That figure was higher among whites (38.9 percent) and lower among blacks (21.4 percent) and Hispanics (10.6 percent). More than 42 percent of Hispanics had less than a high school diploma; 24.1 percent had a diploma or equivalent, and 23.2 percent completed some college.

But educational attainment varied greatly between American- and foreign-born Hispanics. For example, 16.6 percent of American-born Hispanics held at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with just 6.8 percent of foreign-born Hispanics. While more than 57 percent of Hispanics born abroad completed less than high school, the same was true for less than 19 percent of those born in the U.S.

Of Hispanics ages 5 to 18 enrolled in California’s K-12 schools, 90.9 percent were American-born.

California’s total Hispanic population was nearly 14.1 million in 2010, the most of any state. Hispanics represented 38 percent of the state’s total population.

Joanna Lin is an investigative journalist at California Watch.

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