School choice is at the center of the Trump administration’s education policy efforts, with initial proposals calling for additional funding for charters and other forms of public school choice, as well as the creation of a new federal private school choice program. Some advocates have raised concerns about whether expanding school choice will help disadvantaged families, especially in rural areas and other places where there may not be many schools from which to choose.
Concerns about potential inequities in the availability of different schools to different families, based in large part on geography, are plausible but have not been subject to systematic empirical analysis. In this report, we begin to fill this gap by using nationwide data on the locations of public and private elementary schools to calculate the percent of American families that could potentially gain access to new school options under different national school choice policies. This baseline analysis of school locations does not consider important issues such as school capacity, existing choice programs, or possible changes in the supply of different kinds of schools that might result from choice policies.