Children And Education






Children’s development and educational success hinges upon a myriad of factors, including prekindergarten participation, the adequacy of school funding, and the challenges and needs of the student and youth population. Educational attainment levels are associated with greater earnings and standard of living, and the rate of students pursuing further education also provides an indirect measure of the strength of the high schools. In Lancaster County, pre-kindergarten enrollment and school spending have both increased while the number of youth pursuing higher education has decreased. 

Prekindergarten helps prepare children both socially and academically for school, and can be especially important for low-income children who tend to be exposed to a less rich vocabulary and have access to fewer resources than their peers. In Lancaster County in 2017, 15% of 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled in prekindergarten programs, up from 9% in 2007, though still below the state rate of 23%.  

School spending in Lancaster County across public school districts was $17,900 per student in 2019, an increase of 54% since 2001.

Student population challenges include those needing special education services and the number of disengaged youth. In Lancaster County, 18% of Lancaster County students received special education services in 2018. This was a higher proportion than the nation, but similar to the state. About 7% of youths ages 16 to 19 in Lancaster County were disengaged in 2014-18 – not working or attending school. That was flat since 2000 and similar to Pennsylvania and the U.S.

Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test scores for students in Lancaster County were all above or on par with statewide levels in 2019. “Historically underperforming” students -- defined by Pennsylvania as students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, and English language learners -- scored consistently lower than the total County-wide student body, with the largest performance gap occurring on the 8th grade English Language Arts Exam: 60% of all students in Lancaster County passed compared to 37% of historically underperforming students.  

In 2018, 60% of high school graduates in Lancaster County planned to attend college at either a 2- or 4-year program, a decrease of 3 percentage points from 2008. This was lower than the current state rate of 68% (which declined by 1 percentage point over this time period). Lancaster’s rate ranked it in the lower end of neighboring counties, whose college-bound rates ranged from 61% to 77%.

Young adults provide a regional economy with a supply of young workers starting out in careers. Lancaster County had a little more than 22,000 young adults in 2014-18 with a bachelor's degree or higher, making up 5.4% of the total population, below the state and nation.

The rates of higher education attainment in Lancaster County by race/ethnicity were generally below the state and national rates for almost every group. The percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher were highest for Asian Americans (41%) followed by whites (27%). African Americans and Hispanics in Lancaster had lower rates -- 17% and 13% respectively.

Enrollment in local colleges in Lancaster County has decreased 4% since 2002, a 26% decline from the peak of 29,080 enrollments in 2008.





INDICATORS TREND
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance in Grade 11 English Not Applicable
Student Performance in Grade 11 Math Decreasing
Per-Student Spending Maintaining
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Rate of Foster Care Admissions Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Enrollment in Local Colleges Decreasing
College Graduation Rates Decreasing
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Age of Housing Stock Not Applicable
Violent Crime Rate Maintaining
Incarceration Rate Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Population Density Increasing
Air Quality Increasing
Water Use Decreasing
Waterways Impaired by Pollution Not Applicable
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People with Disabilities Increasing
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Change in Employment by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Workers by Occupation Not Applicable
Change in Labor Force Maintaining
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Since 2000 Increasing
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Employer Size Not Applicable
Change in Number of Businesses by Sector Increasing
Change in Total Agricultural Sales Increasing
Spending for Local Government Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Veterans Living in Poverty Decreasing
Working Poor Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
Median Home Value Maintaining
Occupied Housing Units Decreasing
Homeownership Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Rent Maintaining
Cost of Renting Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Health Status Maintaining
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Mortality Rates Decreasing
Fatal Drug Overdoses Increasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Increasing
STEM Graduates Increasing
Science and Engineering Research and Development Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable


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