Between 2003–04, the last year of actual data, and 2016–17, the number of high school graduates is projected to increase nationally by 5 percent. Public schools are expected to have increases in high school graduates, while private schools are expected to have decreases. Increases are expected in the West and South and decreases are expected in the Northeast and Midwest.
Projected increases in the number of graduates reflect changes in the 18-year-old population over the projection period, rather than changes in the graduation rates of 12th-graders. However, projections of graduates could be affected by changes in policies influencing graduation requirements.