English Learners in K-12 Education by State

English Learners in K-12 Education by State

This map and ranked bar chart display the number of English Learners (ELs) enrolled in a kindergarten through a 12th grade class, their share of the student population in SY 2015-2016, and the number and share of children in immigrant families in 2017. There were more than 4.8 million ELs in school in 2016, representing 10 percent of public school enrollment. Use the menu to rank states by one of these indicators or hover over a state to display all data.


1) Refers to children who reside with at least one immigrant parent. The term "immigrants" (or "foreign born") refers to people residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. This population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), certain legal nonimmigrants (e.g., persons on student or work visas), those admitted under refugee or asylee status, and persons illegally residing in the United States. Immigrant families are defined as families with at least one immigrant parent. Click here to view the number and share of children of immigrants by state and age groups (0-18, 0-5, 6-17) between 1990 and 2017.

2) The U.S. Department of Education defines English Language Learners (ELLs) as follows: "A [Limited English Proficient] student, or English language learner (ELL) is defined as an individual who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; or who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; or who is an American Indian or Alaska Native and who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on his or her level of English language proficiency. States utilize the results of a "screener"/placement English language proficiency assessment to identify a child as LEP/ELL and to place him/her in a language instruction educational program."

3) SY refers to school year.


Migration Policy Institute tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 American Community Survey (for data on children in immigrant families) and the U.S. Department of Education (for ELL data), ED Data Express, SY 2015-16: http://eddataexpress.ed.gov/data-elements.cfm.