Michigan’s private schools embody a wide variety of religious affiliations. As shown in Graphic 2, while over one-third of Michigan private schools are Roman Catholic, many other religious denominations are represented, including Lutheran, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, Jewish, Christian Scientist and others. Roman Catholic and Lutheran schools make up over half of all the private schools in the state, but another quarter of schools have either no specific religious affiliation or are nonreligious.

Graphic 2: Affiliations of Michigan’s Private Schools, 2015

Graphic 2

Source: Author’s calculations based on “Nonpublic Student Counts” (Center for Educational Performance and Information, 2016), https://perma.cc/2A4M-8XK8. Lutheran includes both Wisconsin and Missouri Synods.

Just as the number of traditional public schools in Michigan has declined recently, the number of private schools has declined in recent years, as shown in Graphic 3. The number of Baptist schools and unaffiliated religious schools have experienced the greatest percent decline over this period, dropping by 33 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Overall, the total number of private schools dropped by 13 percent from 2010 to 2015. The number of public charter schools has grown substantially over this same period, increasing by 30 percent.

Graphic 3: Five-year Change in Number of Public and Private Schools, 2010-2015

Graphic3

Source: Author’s calculations based on “Nonpublic Student Counts” (Center for Educational Performance and Information, 2016), https://perma.cc/2A4M-8XK8; “Student Count” (Center for Educational Performance and Information, 2016), https://perma.cc/D8F9-GE2Y.

While national trends indicate that Catholic school and nonreligious private school enrollments have experienced the greatest declines in recent years, this is not the case in Michigan.[4] Catholic schools have experienced some enrollment decline in Michigan, but not to the extent of other religious private schools, as shown in Graphic 4. And some types of private schools in Michigan have seen enrollment growth over the last five years, namely Jewish, unaffiliated religious schools and independent nonreligious schools.

Graphic 4: Five-year Change in K-12 Student Enrollment in Public and Private Schools, 2010-2015

Graphic4

Source: Author’s calculations based on “Nonpublic Student Counts” (Center for Educational Performance and Information, 2016), https://perma.cc/2A4M-8XK8; “Student Count” (Center for Educational Performance and Information, 2016), https://perma.cc/D8F9-GE2Y. Total public school enrollment includes charter school students.