By August, summertime will be winding down and vacations will be coming to an end, signaling that back-to-school time is near. It's a time that many children eagerly anticipate — catching up with old friends, making new ones and settling into a new daily routine. Parents and children alike scan the newspapers and websites looking for sales to shop for a multitude of school supplies and the latest clothing fads and essentials. This edition of Facts for Features highlights the many statistics associated with the return to classrooms by our nation's students and teachers.
Consumers spent $7.2 billion at family clothing stores in August 2009. Only in December were sales significantly higher. Similarly, sales at bookstores in August 2009 totaled $2.5 billion, an amount approached in 2009 only by sales in January.
For back-to-school shopping, choices of retail establishments abound: In 2007, there were 27,326 family clothing stores, 7,036 children and infants clothing stores, 27,213 shoe stores, 9,754 office supply and stationery stores, 23,756 sporting goods stores, 10,635 bookstores and 10,116 department stores.
There were 76 million children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in October 2008 — from nursery school to college. They comprised 27% of the entire population 3 and older. The projected number of students to be enrolled in the nation's elementary through high schools (grades K‑12) this fall is 56 million.
As of October 2008, 43% of elementary through high school students were nonwhite (single race) or Hispanic. The percentage of elementary through high school students who had at least one foreign-born parent in October 2008 was 41%. Five percent were foreign-born themselves.
After-school extracurricular activities are increasingly becoming more popular. The percentage of 6- to 17-year-olds who participated in sports in 2006 was 41%, up from 34% in 1998. Participation in sports was the most popular extracurricular activity.[Source: Facts for Feature — Back to School: 2010–2011. U.S. Census Bureau. 15 Jun. 2010. Web. 21 Jun. 2010.]