The private school market consists of one-tenth of the market of public schools served today. Over 50 million students are served each year in public schools, while 5.4 million students are served in private schools in the United States.
Not only is the market small, but the actual school size is also small. On average, most private schools serve 300 students or less. In fact, close to half of private schools serve 50 or fewer students. Only six percent of private schools have over 500 students attending.
Unfortunately, this small market is also projected to decline further. The number of 5.4 million students attending private school in 2013 is expected to decline 5.09 million by 2025. In the same time frame, public school enrollment is projected to increase from 50 million to 51.4 million students.
Private schooling looks different across the country, with more private schools found in the South, in suburban neighborhoods, and with a higher attendance of Kindergarteners enrolled in private school than other grades. Let’s look deeper at the private school student break down.
- The majority of private schoolers attend Kindergarten, with an enrollment of over 450,000 per year. All other years are fairly even, with elementary schoolers having a slighter larger population than secondary.
- The largest number of private schools are located in suburban neighborhoods, with 12,662 schools in this area. This is followed by cities (11,476), rural locations (7,539) and finally towns (2,900).
- Looking to location in the country, we find the largest amount of private schools in the South (32.8 percent), followed by the Midwest (26 percent), then the Northeast (22.5 percent), and finally the West (18.8 percent).
These numbers can be discouraging for companies and business that wish to market to private schools. Though serving only private schools means a lower client population, it may be easier to market amongst private schools because the schools often share referrals with each other. Utilizing associations and networks in private schools can mean a lucrative and simple marketing strategy.
There are also many niches within the private school market. There are religious schools, Montessori schools, nature and farm schools, and much more. This can bring more marketing opportunities as a business uses its niche to market and secure customers.
Working within a smaller market also limits rules and laws which apply to the business, and often allow more freedom in operation and service for the business. Delivering a service to a public school may entail high amounts of red tape and expenses which a smaller business does not wish to endure.
Though the private school industry may be small, it allows a unique and potentially successful clientele for any small business.