Teaching Profession From Our Research Center

How Many Teachers Work in Their Hometown? Here’s the Latest Data

By Arianna Prothero — September 08, 2023 1 min read
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About six in 10 teachers work in the state they grew up in, but many say they have an itch to go further afield.

That’s according to new data from the EdWeek Research Center, which surveyed teachers about where they work and where they would prefer to work.

Forty-nine percent of teachers said that the school they would most like to work at happens to be in a state where they lived as a child.

While in some ways the data parallels trends seen in the general adult population—many Americans live in the state they grew up in— it also suggests that teachers might be more mobile if they could.

For those teachers who want to work in another state, state-specific teacher licensing rules can make moving very difficult. Most states require out-of-state teachers to take additional courses or exams to get relicensed, although that is changing.

This summer, 10 states joined a new compact promising that they would automatically grant teaching licenses to teachers moving into their state if they have a bachelor’s degree, had completed a state-approved teacher-licensure program in another state, and have a full teaching license—a policy that might affect future teacher-migration trends.

While many teachers have remained in their home state and even their home communities, the demographics of the students they teach are changing.

Fewer than half of teachers work in schools where the income levels and racial makeup of the student body is similar to the schools teachers say they attended as children, according to the EdWeek Research Center survey. That tracks with demographic changes among school-aged children. Nationally, U.S. schools are becoming much more diverse while the teaching force remains overwhelmingly white.

Explore the charts below to see how close to home teachers tend to stay in their careers, how similar their students are to their childhood classmates, and how all of that compares with where they would most prefer to teach.

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Data analysis for this article was provided by the EdWeek Research Center. Learn more about the center’s work.

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