53+ Teacher Statistics & Demographics: Key Insights into U.S. Education

11 Jan 2022
The average teacher salary in 2019-20 was $63,645, but varied significantly by location and education level, highlighting disparities.

In 2020, the number of teachers in the United States increased by 1.4%, reaching a total of 3.8 million. This increase was seen across all grade levels, with the largest growth occurring in pre-K/elementary school teachers.

Despite the influx of new educators, the student-teacher ratio remains high, with an average of 15 students per teacher. This is an alarming statistic as it suggests that teachers are still not receiving the support they need to be able to provide quality education to their students.

Top 15 Key Teacher Statistics & Demographics

  1. There were approximately 3.7 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) elementary and secondary school teachers in public and private schools in the United States in 2019-20. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  2. Of the 3.7 million FTE teachers in 2019-20, 3.2 million were in public schools and 0.5 million were in private schools. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  3. The average public school teacher salary for the 2019-20 school year was $63,645, while the average private school teacher salary was $38,180. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  4. In the 2019-20 school year, about 76% of public school teachers were female, and 24% were male. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  5. The percentage of public school teachers who were White was 79% in 2019-20, while the percentage who were Hispanic was 9%, Black was 7%, Asian was 2%, and other races was 3%. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  6. In the 2019-20 school year, about 13% of public school teachers had a master's degree as their highest degree, while 48% had a bachelor's degree as their highest degree. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  7. Approximately 8% of public school teachers in the 2019-20 school year were teaching in a subject area that did not match their primary teaching assignment. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  8. In 2019-20, the average public school classroom teacher had 14 years of experience. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  9. The percentage of public school teachers who were union members was 43% in 2019-20. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  10. In the 2019-20 school year, about 9% of public school teachers were teaching with emergency or provisional certification. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  11. In the 2019-20 school year, about 14% of public school teachers reported having a disability. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  12. The percentage of public school teachers who reported that they had been physically attacked by a student in the 2015-16 school year was 6%. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  13. In the 2019-20 school year, about 6% of public school teachers were teaching English language learners. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  14. Approximately 20% of public school teachers in the 2019-20 school year had less than 5 years of experience. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  15. In the 2019-20 school year, about 9% of public school teachers were Black males. (National Center for Education Statistics)

Teacher Population Statistics by Gender, Age, and Race/Ethnicity

Gender

  • In the 2019-20 school year, approximately 76% of public school teachers were female while only 24% were male. (National Center for Education Statistics)

Age

  • The average age of public school teachers in the United States was 42 years old in the 2019-20 school year. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  • Approximately 27% of public school teachers were over the age of 50 in the 2019-20 school year. (National Center for Education Statistics)

Race/Ethnicity

  • In the 2019-20 school year, about 79% of public school teachers were White, while Hispanic teachers made up only about 9%, Black teachers made up about 7%, and Asian teachers made up only about 2%. Teachers from other races accounted for about 3%. (National Center for Education Statistics)

Public School Teacher Statistics Across the US

  • In the 2019-20 school year, California had the highest number of public school teachers with approximately 307,000, while Vermont had the lowest with approximately 7,000.
  • Texas followed California with approximately 324,000 public school teachers.
  • Other states with a high number of public school teachers include New York (210,000), Florida (180,000), and Illinois (130,000).
  • The states with the lowest number of public school teachers besides Vermont include Wyoming (8,500), North Dakota (10,500), and South Dakota (11,500).

Teacher Salaries in the U.S.

  • The highest paying states for teachers in the U.S. are New York, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey, with average salaries ranging from $76,000 to $86,000 per year.
  • On the other hand, some of the lowest paying states include Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Carolina and Arizona with an average salary of less than $50,000 per year.
  • According to a study by the National Education Association (NEA), teacher salaries have decreased by 4.5% over the past decade when adjusting for inflation.
  • In some states such as Arizona and Oklahoma, teachers have staged protests in recent years demanding higher pay and better working conditions.

Top Cities with the Most Teachers in the US

  • New York City has the most teachers in the United States, with approximately 133,000 teachers in the 2019-20 school year.
  • Los Angeles follows with approximately 67,000 teachers, and Chicago comes in third with approximately 22,000 teachers.
  • Other cities with a high number of teachers include Miami (16,000), Houston (14,000), and Philadelphia (13,000).

Teacher Shortage: High Demand States in the US

  • Nevada had the highest teacher vacancy rate in the 2020-21 school year, with 31% of teaching positions unfilled.
  • Other states with high teacher vacancy rates include Arizona (28%), Utah (26%), California (25%), and Oklahoma (24%).
  • On the other hand, states like Vermont and Maine had among the lowest teacher vacancy rates at only 3% and 4%, respectively.

Teacher Educational Attainment by State

Source: Teacher Educational Attainment in General by zippia.com

Here are the percentages of public school teachers with different levels of educational attainment in each state in the U.S.:

Alabama:

  • Less than a Bachelor's degree: 9%
  • Bachelor's degree: 58%
  • Master's degree: 32%
  • Doctorate or Professional degree: 1%

Alaska:

  • Less than a Bachelor's degree: 4%
  • Bachelor's degree: 62%
  • Master's degree: 33%
  • Doctorate or Professional degree: <1%

Arizona:

  • Less than a Bachelor's degree: <1%
  • Bachelor's degree: 70%
  • Master's degree: 28%
  • Doctorate or Professional degree: <1%

Arkansas:

  • Less than a Bachelor's degree: 3%
  • Bachelor's degree: 56%
  • Master's degree: 40%
  • Doctorate or Professional degree: <1%

California:

  • Less than a Bachelor’s Degree – N/A
  • Bachelor’s Degree – N/A
  • Master’s Degree – N/A
  • Doctoral/Professional Degrees – N/A

Employment Statistics of Teachers

  • In 2020, the total number of teachers in the U.S. was 3.8 million.
  • Of these, approximately 3.2 million were employed in public schools and 0.5 million in private schools.
  • The average teacher salary for the 2019-20 school year was $63,645.
  • About 76% of public school teachers and 42% of private school teachers were female in the 2019-20 school year.
  • The percentage of public school teachers who were union members was 43% in the 2019-20 school year, while the percentage of private school teachers who were union members was only 17%.

Teacher Experience in Public and Private Schools

  • The average years of experience for public school teachers in the United States was 14 years in the 2019-20 school year.
  • Approximately 20% of public school teachers had less than five years of teaching experience, while about 27% had more than 20 years of experience.
  • On the other hand, private school teachers had an average of 11 years of experience.(Source: National Center for Education Statistics)

Teacher Jobs By Industry

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, there were approximately 3.8 million teachers employed in the United States across various industries.
  • The majority of teachers (about 3.2 million) worked in elementary and secondary schools, while others worked in child day care services (186,000), junior colleges (103,000), technical and trade schools (94,000), and colleges, universities, and professional schools (64,000).
  • In terms of job outlook for teachers from 2019 to 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 4% growth rate for kindergarten and elementary school teachers and a 3% growth rate for middle school and high school teachers.
  • However, there is expected to be a faster-than-average job growth rate for postsecondary teachers at 9%. This is due to an increase in enrollment rates among college-aged students.

Conclusion

The statistics presented in this document highlight both the challenges and opportunities that exist within the teaching profession in the United States. While there has been an increase in the number of teachers in recent years, there is still a shortage of qualified educators in high-need areas. Moreover, teacher salaries have not kept up with inflation and are often lower than other professions requiring similar levels of education.

Despite these challenges, there are also reasons to be hopeful about the future of teaching. The growth rate for postsecondary teachers, as well as for some K-12 positions, suggests that there will continue to be demand for qualified educators. Additionally, efforts to diversify the teaching workforce and provide additional support for new teachers may help to address some of the issues facing the profession.

Sources

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