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Projections of Education Statistics to 2011
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Chapter 3
High School Graduates


National

The number of high school graduates is projected to increase 11 percent over the projection period. Increases in the number of graduates are expected for both public and private schools. The significant rise in the number of graduates reflects the increase in the 18-year-old population over the projection period, rather than changes in the graduation rates of 12th graders (figure 34).

However, projections of graduates could be impacted by changes in policies affecting graduation requirements. Projections of public high school graduates that have been produced over the past 18 years are less accurate than projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment, but more accurate than projections of earned degrees by level. For more information, see table A2.

Total High School Graduates

A high school graduate is defined as an individual who has received formal recognition from school authorities, by the granting of a diploma, for completing a prescribed course of studies at the secondary school level. This definition does not include other high school completers, high school equivalency recipients, or other diploma recipients.

The number of high school graduates from public and private schools increased from 2.6 million in 1985-86 to 2.8 million in 1987-88 (table 23 and figure 35). Then, it decreased to 2.5 million in 1993-94, before increasing to 2.8 million in 1998-99. The total number of high school graduates is projected to rise to 3.1 million by 2010-11, an increase of 11 percent from 1998-99.

High School Graduates, by Control of Institution

The number of graduates of public high schools increased from 2.4 million in 1985-86 to 2.5 million in 1987-88 (table 23 and figure 36). Then, it decreased to 2.2 million in 1993-94, before rising to 2.5 million in 1998-99. Over the projection period, public high school graduates are projected to increase to 2.8 million by 2010-11, an increase of 11 percent from 1998-99.

The number of graduates of private high schools is projected to increase from an estimated 273,000 in 1998-99 to 298,000 by 2010-11, an increase of 9 percent.

State

The expected 11 percent increase in public high school graduates will be reflected in many states, with 28 states showing increases (table 25 and figure 38). Projected trends in the number of public high school graduates by state could be impacted by changes in policies affecting graduation requirements.

The number of public high school graduates in the Northeast is expected to increase 11 percent between 1998-99 and 2010-11 (table 25 and figure 39). Large increases are expected in Connecticut (25 percent), Massachusetts (18 percent), New Hampshire (12 percent), and New Jersey (24 percent). Smaller increases are expected in New York (8 percent), Pennsylvania (3 percent), and Rhode Island (10 percent). Decreases are projected for Maine (9 percent) and Vermont (9 percent).

The number of public high school graduates in the Midwest is expected to increase by 2 percent between 1998-99 and 2010-11. Increases are expected in Illinois (18 percent), Indiana (3 percent), Michigan (3 percent), and Missouri (4 percent). Decreases are expected in Iowa (4 percent), Kansas (3 percent), Minnesota (0.9 percent), Nebraska (10 percent), North Dakota (22 percent), Ohio (2 percent), South Dakota (23 percent), and Wisconsin (3 percent).

Between 1998-99 and 2010-11, the number of public high school graduates in the South will increase by 12 percent. Increases are expected in Delaware (7 percent), District of Columbia (18 percent), Florida (28 percent), Georgia (28 percent), Maryland (17 percent), North Carolina (28 percent), Tennessee (16 percent), Texas (15 percent), and Virginia (17 percent). Decreases are expected in Alabama (3 percent), Arkansas (5 percent), Kentucky (6 percent), Louisiana (9 percent), Mississippi (2 percent), Oklahoma (8 percent), South Carolina (0.7 percent), and West Virginia (18 percent).

The number of high school graduates in the West is expected to increase, rising by 20 percent. The largest increases are expected in Arizona (40 percent), California (26 percent), Colorado (21 percent), and Nevada (75 percent). Other increases are projected in Alaska (8 percent), Idaho (2 percent), Oregon (6 percent), and Washington (8 percent). Decreases are projected for Hawaii (4 percent), Montana (16 percent), New Mexico (4 percent), Utah (5 percent), and Wyoming (27 percent).

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education