Recent numbers show diversity up in Austin

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Austin Public Schools continues to grow more diverse.

Early school enrollment numbers show 44.1 percent of the district’s 4,980 students this year are nonwhite, which is up almost 2 percent from last year, according to numbers outlined by Director of Research, Evaluation and Assessment Corey Haugen at Monday’s school board meeting.

Austin is more diverse than the statewide total of 69.5 percent white students and 30.5 percent nonwhite.

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“We have almost 14 percent more diversity when it comes to ethnicity than statewide,” Haugen said.

The district is also far more diverse than the community as a whole, which Haugen said is 21.3 percent nonwhite.

The district has 2,783 white students — or 55.9 percent — and 1,329 hispanic students — or 26.7 percent; however, Austin’s Asian population of 379 students — or 7.6 percent — is the fastest growing group, according to Haugen.

Austin students also speak 45 home languages — three more than last year — with 69.8 percent of those speaking English, 18.9 percent speaking Spanish and 11.3 percent speaking a collection of 43 other languages.

Austin has 97 Anuak speakers. As of last school year, Haugen said Austin Public Schools enrolled 29.8 percent of all Anuak students in Minnesota.

Austin also had 95 Karenni speakers and 85 Karen speakers, which Haugen called the fastest growing sectors. Austin also enrolled 26.8 percent of the Karenni students in Minnesota.

Austin also has 700 students English learner students — nearly double the state average.

Austin Public Schools ethnicity breakdown for 2016-17

White: 55.9 % or 2,783

Hispanic: 26.7% or 1,329

Black: 9.6% or 480

Asian: 7.6% or 379

American Indian: 0.2% or 9

Austin Public Schools Primary languages

English: 69.8% or 3,477

Spanish: 18.9% or 941

Other: 11.3% or 562