CALIFORNIA—New state projections released in January 2021 reveal that student enrollment in California public schools have declined due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic.

California, a public school system with more than 6 million students in more than a thousand districts, has enrollment declining by a record number of more than 155,000 students.

This comes after a February 2020 study by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) showed that enrollment will decrease by 10 percent in the next decade. From 2008 to 2018, enrollment dropped by 1 percent.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the country’s birth rate, which has been going down for more than 30 years have impacted the gradual decline. A report by the National Center for Health Statistics said that 2019 was “the fifth year that the number of births has declined after the increase in 2014, down an average of 1% per year, and the lowest number of births since 1985.”

When the report was published in 2019, Dowell Myers, who is a demographer at the University of Southern California, told NPR at the time that America’s birth rate decline is a “national problem.”

Within the next decade, California counties like Plumas, San Bernardino, Calaveras, and San Benito are expected to see some growth in enrollment. According to the PPIC, counties like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Trinity, and Humboldt are expected to see a decline in enrollment.

In the spring, the California Department of Education indicated it plans on releasing more data.