Consistent attendance is key to student success, but post-pandemic attendance has been far from consistent. Nationwide, chronic absenteeism—the percentage of students missing at least 10% of a school year—surged from 15% in 2018 to 29% in 2022, and remained high in 2023. Surging chronic absenteeism clearly stemmed from the pandemic, but limited data has obscured where, and for whom, the change is greatest.
Return to Learn’s (R2L) chronic absenteeism data span districts in 50 states from 2016–17 to 2022–23, where available, for the most current and comprehensive chronic absenteeism data available anywhere. Click for more on R2L’s methods, and scroll down to see how chronic absenteeism changed from 2017 to 2023.
R2L added IA, MO, ME, HI, OK, UT, KY, IL, & OR 2022-23 data. Last update: Dec 4, 2023
District-level data reveal patterns in the kinds of districts that saw greater and lesser changes in chronic absenteeism over time. Click on the drop down menu below to see these differences by achievement, size, 2020–21 remote instruction, 2021–22 mask mandates and other factors.
The Return to Learn Tracker’s goal is to provide up-to-date data on how US school districts responded to the pandemic and are being affected by it. This tracker captures data on chronic absenteeism for over 14,700 school districts and charter schools nationwide and will be updated as more state data becomes available. We hope these data will help school communities as they face ongoing decisions, provide the basic knowledge necessary for shaping policy across states, and allow other researchers to more accurately study COVID-19’s impacts on schools.
We adhere to high standards in research methodology and practices, pursuing rigorous transparency in our approach to this work.
AEI would like to thank The Achelis and Bodman Foundation for its generous support that helped make the Return to Learn Tracker possible.