EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — In 2021, Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs had one of the most significant increases in student enrollment in Colorado. Last year the district welcomed 1,825 more students than compared in 2020.

Across the state, school enrollment bounced back last year after a slight decline in 2020.

The Colorado Department of Education reports that 886,517 students were counted in October 2021, when the state conducted its annual pupil count – an increase of 3,318 students.

Still, those numbers are well below the 913,223 students counted in the fall of 2019 – the all-time high for Colorado. The last time the state’s enrollment figures were lower than 886,517 was in 2013, when the preschool through 12th grade student enrollment was 876,999.

Districts with the most significant decreases included Jefferson County with 1,615 fewer students, Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 with 1,602 fewer students, and Las Animas RE-1 with 1,479 fewer students.

Officials largely attributed the previous year’s slump to parents’ pandemic-driven decisions. But the dip in K-12 students this year points to an underlying issue that has nothing to do with the pandemic: declining birth rates. In 2021, Colorado had 61,970 births, down about 9,000 from 2007, a peak year that saw 70,777 births. Moreover, the decrease comes even though Colorado has more women of childbearing age.

— The Associated Press and Colorado Sun staff writer Thy Vo contributed to this report.