How do school districts determine their future enrollment numbers?

June 10, 2018

Predicting student enrollment trends is becoming increasingly complex. Many communities are experiencing high economic and housing growth and shifts in student numbers due to schools of choice and charter schools.


Middle Cities has provided enrollment projection services to school districts across Michigan and throughout the U.S. for over 35 years. We have updated and refined our computer program to more adequately accommodate the many variables schools must consider when predicting enrollment trends.


The Middle Cities enrollment projection program uses 3 variations of the cohort survival method for projecting enrollment by grade through the next 10 years. The cohort survival method projects future enrollment, based upon survival rates from one grade to the next, and uses this data to predict what enrollments will likely be in the future.


The enrollment projection package provides support documentation including accuracy tables based upon prior year actual enrollments to allow each district to determine which of the three cohort survival methods has the best predictive power. Also included are charts graphically illustrating future enrollment trends for the three methods, which are ideally suited for converting to overhead transparencies. In addition, teacher projections for several different pupil:teacher ratios have been designed to further assist districts in assessing future staff and classroom needs.


  • Apply economic growth factors for unique situations;

  • Use either FTE or headcount data depending on the needs of the district;

  • Pupil:Teacher ratio tables provided that accommodate lower class size initiatives;

  • Includes an interpretation guide.


To request an enrollment projection report or to learn more, visit

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