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Public universities and the public mission

My last post looked at the US population by ethnicity, and how it varied by age group in the states.  I thought it might be interesting for anyone, but especially for those who do university planning or enrollment forecasting, as income and ethnicity factor into college going rates.

It made me wonder about each state and the state of public education: Specifically, how does enrollment at public universities in each state compare to the population of college-aged people (generally speaking) in that state?

So I re-used that data and merged some enrollment data into the mix, and voilà, as they say.

What this shows: On the top chart, you see undergraduate enrollment at four-year and two-year public institutions in the US, broken out by ethnicity.  I've excluded international students and those for whom an ethnicity is not known, both of which are about 3.5% of the total.  This allows for easier comparison against the US population (where there is no category for either.)

On the bottom, you see the same breakouts for the US population aged 18-24 (as of the American Community Survey in 2018).

Customize your views:

The State filter changes both the top and the bottom view.

The Carnegie, Sector, and Institution name filters only change the top view, so you can look at any subset of enrollment.

And the Age filter at the bottom allows you to change the US population groups; it defaults to the 18-24 category.

There are some limitations here, of course.  Many public institutions draw a considerable percentage of their enrollment from beyond their state borders, and I made no attempt to adjust for that.  Removing international students and students with unknown ethnicity from the enrollment data inflates (slightly) all the groups shown.  And of course, data don't explain themselves; state policies and histories of access have a lot to do with the shape of enrollment in public universities.  This is a good place to start, but it's not a statistically-controlled analysis.

The second dashboard breaks out enrollment by broad Carnegie categories.  There is only one filter to allow you to select a single state.

As always, let me know what you see.


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