Abstract

Several recent studies provided evidence that white students’ choice between private and public schools is influenced by the racial composition of the local student population. None of these studies, however, examined whether Latinos are also fleeing to private schools in response to black schoolchildren. I explore the “Latino-flight” hypothesis using data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study and a recently released confidential data set from the National Center for Educational Statistics. In probit regressions for the probability of Latinos attending private schools, I found a large, positive, and statistically significant coefficient on the black share of the school-age population. The coefficient estimates imply that a 10-percentage point increase in the black share increases the probability of private school attendance by 25.7% to 33.2% among Latino 8th graders and 35.2% to 52.2% among Latino 10th graders. I interpret these results as providing evidence of “Latino flight” from public schools into private schools. I did not find evidence that Latinos respond differently to black schoolchildren than do whites.

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