For two decades, K-12 enrollment in California was stable, hovering between 6.1 million and 6.2 million students. But within the state, there was movement: sharp enrollment declines in coastal counties – the rural north and urban Los Angeles and Orange County, where housing prices outpaced incomes – and sharp increases inland, as families moved east to bigger lots and cheaper homes. Enrollments rose between 16.6% and 26.2% in “Superior California,” which includes the Sacramento area and its exurbs, the Inland Empire and the northern and southern San Joaquin Valley regions. In 2020-21, the first full year of the pandemic, enrollment fell by 160,000 students statewide, primarily among the youngest students, as parents in many districts didn’t enroll kindergartners and first graders. How many will return to school is a critical, unanswered question. But state demographers are projecting a further decline in enrollment by 2030, even with a post-pandemic recovery.

Click and drag the circle to see enrollment changes from 2001 through 2020.

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