California Public K-12 Graded Enrollment and High School Graduate Projections by County — 2018 Series

January 2019


State Enrollment    

California experienced a decrease (9,800 students) in total Public K-12 Enrollment in the 2017-18 school year, enrolling approximately 6,211,000 students. Over the next ten years, a decline of 258,000 in total enrollment is projected, if current trends in fertility and migration hold, resulting in total enrollment of 5,953,000 by 2027-28.

County Enrollment

The largest increase in county enrollment is expected in Kern County, which will grow by 11,700 students by 2027-28. The biggest decline in enrollment is expected in Los Angeles County which will fall 161,200 students by the end of the projection. Overall, 30 counties will have increased public K-12 enrollment by 2026-27.

High School Graduates

Graduates are expected to remain flat in the short term before increasing to a peak of 449,400 in 2023-24. The largest increase in graduates is expected in Kern County, which will add 2,800 graduates by end of the projection. Overall 35 counties will see an increase in the number of high school graduates by 2027-28.

Data Sources

Enrollment data used to produce this report were obtained from the California Department of Education. Actual births were obtained from the California Department of Public Health while projected births were produced by the Demographic Research Unit.


Enrollment projections are developed using a grade progression ratio (GPR), cohort-survival, projection model to project enrollment in kindergarten through twelfth grade and high school graduates. The GPR is the result of dividing the enrollment in one grade level by the enrollment in one lower grade from the prior year. The GPR represents the proportion of students expected to progress from one grade to the next. The most likely progression model is chosen based upon analysis of historical trends and knowledge of migration trends and demographic characteristics of each county. Entering cohorts of kindergartners and first graders are projected using actual and projected births. The best fitting progression ratios are chosen independently for the projection of each grade including high school graduates. The state total by grade is the result of the summation of the projections by grade at the county level.

User Notes

Actual enrollment and high school graduates may not match prior years' series due to revisions to the California Department of Education enrollment files. Enrollment projections exclude California Education Authority, state special schools and ungraded students.

Recent changes to kindergarten age of admission impact elementary enrollment patterns making the 2018 series inconsistent with projections series produced prior to the 2010 series. Kindergarten enrollment includes students enrolled in transitional kindergarten.

Suspension of the California High School Exit Exam continues to increase high school graduates compared to previous series.

Suggested Citation

State of California, Department of Finance, California Public K-12 Graded Enrollment and High School Graduate Projections by County, 2018 Series. Sacramento, California, January 2019.


Department of Finance Seal
Governor Gavin Newsom
Finance Director Keely Bosler