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Looking at the numbers behind going back to school

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SALT LAKE CITY — It is the time of year when school is back in session. Some kids dread it, some parents celebrate it. The U.S. Census Bureau provided a quick look at the numbers behind going back to school.

Back-to-School shopping

The amount of money spent at family clothing stores in August 2011 was $7.7 billion. Only in November and December were sales higher. Similarly, sales at book stores in August 2011 totaled $2.4 billion, the strongest sales month of the year.

For back-to-school shopping, choices of retail establishments abound: In 2009, there were 28,520 family clothing stores, 7,092 children and infants clothing stores, 26,651 shoe stores, 8,945 office supply and stationery stores, 21,628 sporting goods stores, 9,390 bookstores and 8,663 department stores.


The number of children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in October 2010 was 79 million. These students ranged from nursery school to college. They comprised 27 percent of the entire population ages three and older.

In 2009, the median earnings of a full-time, year-round worker with an advanced degree is $74,000.

Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade Enrollment72 percent of children ages three to six were enrolled in kindergarten and attended all day, as of October 2010.

24 percent of elementary through high school students had at least one foreign-born parent in October 2010.

In 2009, 27 percent of students ages 12-17 were in a gifted class.

And in 2009, 70 percent of students ranging from six to 17 years old reported being highly engaged in school- they liked school, were interested in being in school and were working hard.


11.8 million school-age children spoke a language other than English in the home in 2010. Of these, 8.5 million spoke Spanish at home.


In October 2010, 16 percent of all college students across the U.S. were 35 and older. They made up 34 percent of those attending school part time.

41 percent of 18 to 24 year olds were enrolled in college.

And in 2010, 56 percent of all college students were women, including undergraduate and graduate students.

Rewards of Staying in School

The median earnings of a full-time, year-round worker with an advanced degree is $74,000. Workers whose highest education was a bachelor's degree had median earnings of $56,000. Median earnings for full-time, year-round workers with a high school diploma was $33,000, while workers with less than high school diploma had $25,000 median earnings.

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Nadine Wimmer


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