Enrollment has boomed in New York Haredi schools – especially Hasidic ones, report finds

Hasidic schools added over 55,000 students from 2000 to 2021

Teach Coalition chart

Aug 15, 2023 3:35 PM


Massive population growth drove an increase in enrollment in New York Haredi schools– especially Hasidic ones – over the past 21 years, according to a report released on Thursday by the Orthodox Union’s Teach Coalition. 

The report uses data from the New York State Education Department to measure enrollment in four types of private schools – Hasidic, single gender non-Hasidic Orthodox, co-ed Modern Orthodox, and non-Orthodox Jewish – between 2000 and 2021.

Of the four categories, growth was highest in Hasidic schools, which added 56,716 students since 2000 for a 130% increase, bringing total enrollment to 100,188 students. The growth took place primarily in three places: Brooklyn; Monsey, a largely Haredi hamlet in Rockland County; and Monroe, the Orange County town in which the mostly Satmar village of Kiryas Joel is located. There are also Hasidic schools in Westchester and the Catskills.

Single-gender non-Hasidic Orthodox schools had the second-highest growth rate. This category represents mostly Yeshivish or Litvish schools, but also includes single-gender Modern Orthodox schools. These schools added 13,619 students for a 35% increase, bringing total enrollment to 52,441. The growth took place primarily in Monsey, Queens, Long Island, and Brooklyn. 

Students in mixed-gender Orthodox schools total 20,340, up 15% since 2000, and those in non-Orthodox schools total 4,283, down 12% since 2000.

Chart in Teach Coalition report demonstrating growth in NY Yeshiva enrollment

The report finds that for Hasidic schools, the number of new students entering pre-K and kindergarten each year is growing, but at a slower rate in 2016-2021 than in 2006-2015. The authors of the report believe that this is because many young Hasidic families are leaving New York and moving to places like Lakewood, New Jersey and Southern Florida, partly to escape New York’s high cost of living.

“Since 2015 we have observed the highest Jewish Kindergarten enrollment growth in states with a combination of lower cost of living, lower tuition costs, and/or government sponsored K-12 scholarships,” the report says.

The report goes on to describe practices that the authors believe could increase enrollment in the New York area, which align with other policies and approaches advocated by OU-affiliated groups. The report recommends that Jewish schools work together to control tuition costs. In addition, it recommends that New York State provide tuition vouchers to students attending private schools, as happens in other states, such as Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law in March making all Florida students eligible for taxpayer-financed vouchers to attend private schools.

The Teach Coalition has advocated in the past for New York State to give out private school vouchers, but the idea hasn’t gained traction in Albany. Haredi schools do nonetheless receive other forms of government funding, generally hundreds of millions of dollars per year. The funding is meant to cover expenses like food programs, security, and complying with mandated services, such as taking attendance and collecting immunization records.

Partly because of advocacy by the Teach Coalition, some Jewish private schools may also benefit from a program where the New York State government reimburses nonpublic schools for the salaries of certain teachers of specific classes related to science, technology, engineering, or math.

The OU is an organization mostly aligned with the Modern Orthodox movement, best known for its kosher certification agency. In 2013, the OU started the Teach Coalition, which focuses on advocating for private schools to receive more government support in New York and other states.