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Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 19722008

NCES 2011-012
December 2010


Table 1. Event dropout rates and number and distribution of 15- through 24-year-olds who dropped out of grades 1012, by selected characteristics: October 2008


Characteristic Event
dropout
rate
(percent)
  Number
of event
dropouts
(thousands)
  Population
enrolled1
(thousands)
Percent of all
dropouts
    Percent of
population
enrolled
                   
Total 3.5   390   11,058 100.0     100.0
                   
Sex                  
Male 3.1   174   5,625 44.6     50.9
Female 4.0   216   5,433 55.4     49.1
                   
Race/ethnicity2                  
White, non-Hispanic 2.3   156   6,721 40.0     60.8
Black, non-Hispanic 6.4   106   1,651 27.1     14.9
Hispanic 5.3   101   1,898 25.9     17.2
Asian/Pacific Islander,
   non-Hispanic
4.0 ! 17 ! 426 4.3 !   3.9
                   
Family income3                  
Low income 8.7   132   1,527 34.0     13.8
Middle income 3.0   196   6,468 50.3     58.5
High income 2.0   61   3,063 15.7     27.7
                   
Age4                  
15–16 2.4   74   3,133 19.0     28.3
17 3.1   118   3,806 30.4     34.4
18 3.6   106   2,959 27.2     26.8
19 4.9   40   815 10.3     7.4
20–24 14.9   51   345 13.1     3.1
                   
Recency of immigration                  
Born outside the 50 states and
   District of Columbia
                 
Hispanic 8.1   35   434 9.0     3.9
Non-Hispanic 4.6   19   418 4.9     3.8
First generation5                  
Hispanic 3.7   31   842 8.0     7.6
Non-Hispanic 1.4 ! 11 ! 780 2.7 !   7.1
Second generation or higher5                  
Hispanic 5.5   35   622 8.9     5.6
Non-Hispanic 3.3   259   7,962 66.5     72.0
                   
Region                  
Northeast 2.3   46   1,998 11.8     18.1
Midwest 2.7   71   2,640 18.1     23.9
South 4.3   167   3,847 42.8     34.8
West 4.1   106   2,574 27.3     23.3
! Interpret data with caution. Estimate is unstable because the standard error represents more than 33 percent of the estimate.
1 This is an estimate of the population of 15- through 24-year-olds enrolled during the previous year in high school based on the number of students still enrolled in the current year and the number of students who either graduated or dropped out the previous year.
2 Respondents were able to identify themselves as being two or more races. The White (non-Hispanic), Black (non-Hispanic), and Asian/Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic) categories consist of individuals who considered themselves to be one race and who did not identify as Hispanic. The Hispanic category consists of Hispanics of all races and racial combinations. Due to small sample size, the American Indians/Alaska Natives and those who identified themselves as being two or more races, but not Hispanic are included in the total but are not shown separately.
3 Low income is defined as the bottom 20 percent of all family incomes for 2008; middle income is between 20 and 80 percent of all family incomes; and high income is the top 20 percent of all family incomes.
4 Age when a person dropped out may be 1 year younger, because the dropout event could occur at any time over a 12-month period.
5 Individuals defined as “first generation” were born in the 50 states or the District of Columbia, and one or both of their parents were born outside the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Individuals defined as “second generation or higher” were born in the 50 states or the District of Columbia, as were both of their parents.
NOTE: The event dropout rate indicates the percentage of youth ages 15 through 24 who dropped out of grades 10–12 between one October and the next (e.g., October 2007 to October 2008). Dropping out is defined as leaving school without a high school diploma or equivalent credential, such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October 2008.

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