School Engagement

Parents of school-aged children (aged 6–17 years) were asked two questions to assess their child’s engagement in school: whether the child cares about doing well in school and whether the child does all required homework. Children were considered to be engaged in school if their parent responded “usually” or “always” to both of these items. Overall, 80.4 percent of children aged 6–17 years were engaged in school. Children in urban areas were only slightly more likely than those in large rural areas to be engaged in school (80.8 versus 78.3, respectively).

In all locations, children in the highest income categories were most likely to be adequately engaged in school than those with lower household incomes. For example, among large rural children, the percentage who were engaged in school ranges from 73.8 percent of those with household incomes below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 84.9 percent of those with household incomes of 400 percent or more of the FPL. Within each income group, however, the rate of school engagement was similar across locations.

With regard to racial and ethnic groups, there were few differences in the percentage of children engaged in school across locations. The one exception was among non-Hispanic White children: those in urban areas were significantly more likely than children in rural areas to be engaged in school. Within each location there were some differences across racial and ethnic groups. For instance, in both large and small rural areas non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black children were less likely than Hispanic children to be engaged in school. In urban areas, non-Hispanic Black children were less likely than all other racial and ethnic groups to be engaged in school.

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