Growth & Demand

Public charter schools would not exist, let alone grow and thrive, without demand from families seeking high-quality public school choices. Since New York City’s first charter school opened in 1999, this educational option has grown to encompass 197 schools serving 83,200 students—with at least that many more on waiting lists for available seats.

This page offers information about charter schools’ growth and demand, including the Charter Center’s annual estimates of citywide applications for charter schools’ random admissions lotteries.

Based on survey data, the Charter Center estimates that New York City charter schools received an estimated 70,700 applicants for 21,000 seats—creating a citywide charter school “waiting list” of an estimated 49,700.

Based on survey data, the Charter Center estimates that New York City charter schools received an estimated 69,000 applicants for 18,600 seats—creating a citywide charter school “waiting list” of an estimated 50,400.
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Out of the 159 New York City charter schools currently enrolling students for 2012-13, 130 (82%) responded to the New York City Charter School Center's survey about their lottery application rates. Based on survey data, the Charter Center estimates that New York City charter schools received a total of 133,000 applications for 14,600 new seats.

What choices are charter schools providing? What are their results? Who are their students? And what is the outlook for charter schools' future? Read the Charter Center's new, data-rich report to find out.

When charter schools receive more applications than available seats, they admit students by random lottery. Based on a spring survey after the lottery season, the Charter Center produced estimates of the number of applications and unique applicants for charter school enrollment in Fall 2011.