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Demographics Study Indicates Only Slight Growth in Future Enrollment

Key Findings of the Demographics Study

The School District of Clayton recently commissioned Business Information Services, LLC, to conduct a long-term, comprehensive demographics study of the District’s community to project future population changes and potential residential enrollment scenarios for the District. This study was recommended by the Demographics and Enrollment subcommittee of the Long-Term Financial Planning Committee, which is a committee of the Board of Education. This subcommittee was developed to help the District plan for changes in demographics and student enrollment by identifying future resource needs and potential challenges that the District must accommodate.

Business Information Services, LLC, and its third-party data vendor, FinCo GeoDemographics, LLC, combined numerous approaches to analyze more than 30 years of enrollment data to determine likely population and resident enrollment changes in the District. The study examined recent population changes in the District, including home sales and new construction; population projections based on historical demographic census data from various census databases; exploration of birth and kindergarten enrollment trends and their relationship; and analyses of historical trends in the District’s K-12 resident enrollment.

The findings from the demographics study indicate the District’s resident enrollment could grow by as many as 24 resident students per year or by as few as two students per year. The demographer did not see a pattern of sustained enrollment growth because of several factors, including the aging resident population, lack of a relationship existing between births and kindergarten enrollment five years later, and the roughly 20 percent of resident children who attend private school.

Based on U.S. census data, the District’s population grew by 878 people from 2000 to 2010. During that same period, the District’s residential enrollment fell by 26 students. The census data also indicated a large increase in the over-50-year-old age groups living in Clayton and large decreases in both the households with under-5-year-old occupants and households of individuals who are of childbearing ages.

Based on the demographer’s study of the age of homes where District students live, only 2.4 percent of students live in houses built since 2000, indicating a lack of relationship between resident enrollment growth and new construction. A slight relationship exists between resident enrollment growth and house sales, though housing within the District’s boundaries is not as affordable as in neighboring districts.

The demographer analyzed the potential impact of the three new residential developments within the District’s boundaries, which will result in an estimated 599 additional units. Based on the study of the high-rise developments completed in Clayton between 2000-2007, along with research in other urban school districts, the demographer estimated the new construction would bring few students to the District.

Overall, the demographer noted that only modest increases in resident enrollment are likely in the foreseeable future. Non-resident enrollment was not considered as part of this study because, with the exception of the children of employees who attend the District, this type of enrollment is based on space availability within the District and can be controlled by the District’s class size standards.

View the full demographics report, and listen to the presentation and discussion at the District’s Nov. 30 Board of Education meeting.