9 reasons why American students don’t wear uniforms

why American students don’t wear uniforms like other students in countries, such UK?

What are the core reasons behind that?

Do uniforms still have disadvantages?

In this post, we’re going to discover the 9 reasons why American students don’t wear uniforms.

1 – American students love freedom

An American student has been raised in terms of freedom and individualistic culture. As a result, forcing students to wear uniforms that don’t respect these values consider a big misconception.

As a result, many students don’t accept it and consider it one form of a human rights violation.

wearing uniforms means for students no freedom, in a country that respects hugely the right of expression.

American students want to be comfortable and wear what they want. In other words, they don’t accept someone imposing or ruling them on what to wear because they consider it personal freedom.

In addition, many parents consider a school as a source for social interaction and self-expression, which is important as well as education that students should learn about in school.

on the other sides students find uniforms:

  • boring
  • don’t allow them to express themselves
  • tightening freedom
  • awful
  • not comfortable

Students consider wearing uniforms like a team playing a match football. In other words, it crushes their soul and forces conformity.

Students say that they don’t want to make fashion with their clothes. But just like to express themselves and wear what is matching to them.

This is one of the student responses for those who say that students are wearing clothes in schools for fashion.

2 – public schools can’t afford uniforms

uniforms are expensive and cost a fortune, for instance, a good uniform suit can cost up to $200. While in the Us are US 50 million school students which represents a huge budget to spend for a government.

But if we accept that and make just $100 for each US school student, As a result, the US government has to spend $5 billion on this business.

according to CAPE Today, we have in the US around 130 schools, only 25% are private so most of us students are studying in public schools you can find more details in the graph below.

but the problem is private schools in the US only cover 6 million school students. As a result, 44 million students study in public schools.

So if we consider that :

  • a uniform cost $100 for one outfit
  • Students need at least 2 outfits for replacement
  • we have 44 million public school students

As a result, the US government has to spend $8.8 billion and not at once, this budget needs to be spent each year. Because on every year student needs to new suits or uniforms.

So the budget side is an interesting reason why American students don’t wear uniforms.

3 – American parents can’t afford uniforms

According to census.gov, the Median household income was $67,521 in 2020, a decrease of 2.9 percent from the 2019 median of $69,560. But if look at the dark side of poverty numbers are shocking.

10% of American householders earn less than $15,000 a year which means $1250 a month, according to Statista. So many householders are struggling to feed their kids, thus uniforms are out of business.

Today public schools are free, but a lot of parents have been charged additional fees to pay for their kid’s school. Moreover, many school students don’t participate in school lunches programs.

In addition, an average American family has 2 to 3 kids, so if we do a simple calculation of what can cost a uniform to an American family here is what we find.

$200 a year for each kid if we consider $100 for each uniform, as a result, $600 to $700 for each family. So many parents can’t afford that and won’t let it happen in public schools.

Many parents are already mad about their situation, so there is no more room to accept more school expenses. So American students don’t wear uniforms because simply uniforms prices are on the roof.

4 – it doesn’t solve the discrimination problem

Many people say the uniform solve the discrimination between student but this is not 100% effective as we think and hear is why.

The problem is private school standardizes their uniforms and make strict and clear conditions about it. Sometimes they direct parents where to buy it. But the question is different for public schools.

In public schools, they only tell the student what colors and materials they should buy, so they let a lot of liberty to students. As a result, is good on one side.

Rich kids buy or purchase name brands of clothing while poor families look for second-hand stores or drift shops. Therefore, keep a difference between students and don’t solve problems completely.

So poor kids get bullied and excluded socially just for not wearing named brands. This not only happens with uniforms but it happens even with smartphones. You could find more information by reading this article.

So public schools that are imposing uniforms are lacking many restrictions compared to private schools. As a result, keep causing much social exclusion and discrimination.

5 – uniforms are very annoying in some US states

wearing uniforms in some us states is hell for some students, especially in these states:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Utah
  • Haiwia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Georgia
  • Alabama and etc

These the temperature reach up to 100F in afternoons. So students are used to having a polo shirt and shorts, and telling them to wear a uniform is a punishment.

forcing a student to wear long pants and a shirt, in addition, to a tie could be hell for him. Students will not be feeling comfortable in classes where they should be.

Sometimes it affects their focus and decreases their productivity.

6 – uniforms become dirty

Many teachers are suffering from this problem, having unwashed uniforms in class in a disaster.

school students are so active and move a lot so we can imagine how the uniform smells after a few weeks.

Many teachers get forced to open windows classes even on freezing days.

On average, a school student should at least change cloth 4 times a week while some school students do that every day. But the problem is that is impossible with uniforms.

To do that every student has to buy 3 to 4 uniforms to replace which is very expensive and not affordable for any family.

In addition, the uniforms are prone to be polluted and stained by ink and other school supplies. Especially when we talk about the white shirts this is another story.

for instance, many students stain their white shirts with ink which is very hard to remove and sometimes becomes impossible. So parents waste double the time, money, and effort to wash these uniforms.

7 – regional history

According to ABCnwes, around 6000 catholic schools are in the US, and most of these Catholic schools force students to use uniforms which contradicts the new US generation’s beliefs.

according to news Gallup and Washington DC, a poll made over three consecutive 3 years found that:

  • 1 in 5 Americans don’t identify with any religion
  • the belief in good is decreasing from 87% to 64%

many US people love to go out of religious restrictions and uniforms are one example of that. So many students want to have more freedom and keep away religious aspects of their education life.

8 – students don’t love uniforms

American students don’t love them and find them:

  • boring
  • restricting them
  • tightening freedom
  • awful
  • not comfortable

==> boring: wearing a uniform means wearing the same clothes with the same colors every day. It is so boring and routine.

==> restricting them: students have to wait for the same shirt and sometimes a specific brand. Sometimes students feel like soldiers who prepare for war.

==> tightening freedom: Students can’t wear shorts or dresses they want, girls feel more deeply than boys in this case.

==> awful: most students don’t like the uniform colors they find them horrible

==> not comfortable: many students find comfort in wearing trousers and a polo shirt which is impossible in school. Especially when we talk about neckties.

Students love to choose their own outfits and wear what their find comfortable. In addition, they always love to find their own style.

9 – Responsibles, see that there is no need to do that

many people see that wearing uniforms in schools is useless and doesn’t make any difference in students studying performance. So there is no need to put students under restrictions that don’t add any value.

uniforms add more fees and are expensive to parents and schools which both parts parents and schools can’t afford.

The US government would not go into conflict with parents because they already know the uniform problems that we mentioned above in our article.


But numbers are changing today many public students today are implementing uniforms.

there are some schools that enforce uniforms in the US today, especially when we talk to private schools. you could read this article to know more about this topic.

Us system schools tend to become similar to the UK school system and adopt uniforms in all its public schools.


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.