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Dropouts from high school are more likely to be unemployed and earn less when they are employed than those who complete high school.1 Among adults age 25 or older, those who did not complete high school report worse health than their peers who did complete high school, regardless of income. 2
The status dropout rate represents the percentage of an age group that is not enrolled in school and has not earned a high school credential (i.e., diploma or equivalent, such as a GED). According to this measure, 10 percent of 16- through 24-year-olds were out of school without a high school credential in 2002. Although the status dropout rate declined for this age group between 1972 and 2002, it remained fairly stable over the last decade (1992 through 2002).
Status dropout rates and changes in these rates over time differ by race/ethnicity. Each year between 1972 and 2002, the status dropout rate was lowest for Whites and highest for Hispanics (figure 1). The status dropout rates for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics declined between 1972 and 2002. The gap between Blacks and Whites narrowed during the 1970s and into the mid-1980s, but there was no measurable change in the period between 1985 and 2002. From 1972 through 2002, there has been no measurable change in the gap between the status dropout rates for Hispanics and Whites.
In 2002, almost one-third of status dropouts (30 percent) ages 16-24 were Hispanics who were born outside of the United States 3 (table 1). Higher dropout rates among Hispanic immigrants partly account for the persistently high dropout rates for all Hispanics. Among Hispanic 16- through 24-year-olds who were born outside the United States, the status dropout rate of 41 percent in 2002 was more than double the rates for first- or later-generation Hispanics in this age group born in the United States (14 and 11 percent, respectively). Nevertheless, Hispanics born in the United States were more likely to be high school dropouts than their non-Hispanic counterparts.
|Number of status
|Percent of all
|Immigration status Born outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia|
|Second generation or more3|
1 Tables 215 and 608 from U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. (2004). Current Population Survey (CPS), October Supplement, 1972-2002.
2 Indicator 12 from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2004). The Condition of Education 2004, NCES 2004-075, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
3 The United States refers to the 50 states and the District of Columbia.