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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008

NCES 2008-084
September 2008

Dropout Rates


In 2006, a higher percentage of noninstitutionalized American Indian/Alaska Native young adults (ages 16 to 24) were status dropouts than were their White, Black, Asian, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander peers.

Figure 3.4. Percentage of noninstitutionalized 16- to 24-year-olds who were high school status dropouts, by sex and race/ethnicity: 2006
Percentage of noninstitutionalized 16- to 24-year-olds who were high school status
dropouts, by sex and race/ethnicity: 2006
! Interpret data with caution.
1 Total includes other race/ethnicity categories not separately shown.
NOTE: Data are graphed using unrounded estimates while the value labels are rounded. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. The data presented here represent status dropout rates. The status dropout rate is the percentage of civilian, noninstitutionalized 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in high school and who have not earned a high school credential (either a diploma or equivalency credential such as a GED). The status dropout rate includes all dropouts regardless of when they last attended school, as well as individuals who may have never attended school in the United States, such as immigrants who did not complete a high school diploma in their home country.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2006.

Young adults who do not finish high school are more likely to be unemployed and earn less when they are employed than those who complete high school (U.S. Department of Labor 2008). This indicator examines the status dropout rate, which is the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in high school and who have not earned a high school credential (either a diploma or equivalency credential such as a GED).1 The status dropout rate is typically a measure of civilian, noninstitutionalized 16- to 24-year-olds. Thus, not all young adults are included in this measure. Examples of groups not included are young adults in the military and those who are incarcerated.

In 2006, a higher percentage of American Indian/ Alaska Native young adults were status dropouts (15 percent) than were their White (7 percent), Black (11 percent), Asian (3 percent), and Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander (7 percent) peers. However, the status dropout rate for American Indians/Alaska Natives was lower than the rate for Hispanics (21 percent).

A similar pattern was evident when examining status dropout rates by sex. The dropout rate for American Indian/Alaska Native males (16 percent) was higher than that for White (7 percent), Black (12 percent), Asian (3 percent), and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (7 percent) males, but lower than that for Hispanic (25 percent) males. In 2006, the dropout rate for American Indian/Alaska Native females was 13 percent. This also was higher than the rate for White (6 percent), Black (9 percent), Asian (3 percent), and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (7 percent) females, but lower than the rate for Hispanic (17 percent) females. No measurable difference was detected between the status dropout rates for American Indian/Alaska Native males and females, despite the apparent difference.

View Table View Table 3.4a

1 The status dropout rate includes all dropouts regardless of when they last attended school, as well as individuals who may have never attended school in the United States, such as immigrants who did not complete a high school diploma in their home country.

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