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Dropout Rates 2002

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.

Figure 1. Status dropout rates of 16- through 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity: October 1972-2002


Status dropout rates of 16- through 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity: October 1972-2002

NOTE: The status dropout rate reported in this indicator is one of a number of rates reporting on high school dropout and completion behavior in the United States. See supplemental note 12 in the Condition of Education for more information about the rate reported here. Due to small sample sizes for most or all of the years shown in the figure, American Indians/Alaska Natives and Asians/Pacific Islanders are included in the total but are not shown separately. The erratic nature of the Hispanic status dropout rates reflects, in part, the historically small sample size of Hispanics. Black includes African American and Hispanic includes Latino. Race categories exclude Hispanic origin unless specified. Some estimates are revised from previous publications.
SOURCE: Status Dropouts chart from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2005). The Condition of Education, NCES 2005-094, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Table 1. Status dropout rates and number and percentage distribution of dropouts ages 16-24, by selected characteristics: October 2002


  Characteristic Status dropout
rate (percent)
Number of status
dropouts
(thousands)
Population
(thousands)
Percent of all
dropouts
Percent of
population
    Total 10.5 3,721 35,495 100.0 100.0
Sex          
  Male 11.8 2,108 17,893 56.7 50.4
  Female 9.2 1,612 17,602 43.3 49.6
Race/ethnicity1          
  Asian/Pacific Islander 3.9 65 1,652 1.7 4.7
  Black 11.3 564 4,991 15.1 14.1
  White 6.5 1,457 22,358 39.2 63.0
  Hispanic 25.7 1,572 6,120 42.3 17.2
Age          
  16 3.1 125 4,072 3.4 11.5
  17 5.4 221 4,056 5.9 11.4
  18 10.3 417 4,031 11.2 11.4
  19 12.1 467 3,876 12.6 10.9
  20–24 12.8 2,491 19,461 66.9 54.8
Immigration status Born outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia    
    Hispanic 41.4 1,127 2,721 30.3 7.7
    Non-Hispanic 5.3 113 2,107 3.0 5.9
  First generation2          
    Hispanic 14.4 284 1,978 7.6 5.6
    Non-Hispanic 3.5 69 1,997 1.9 5.6
  Second generation or more3          
    Hispanic 11.3 160 1,421 4.3 4.0
    Non-Hispanic 7.8 1,967 25,272 52.9 71.2
Region          
  Northeast 9.5 622 6,518 16.7 18.4
  Midwest 9.0 758 8,460 20.4 23.8
  South 12.2 1,458 11,997 39.2 33.8
  West 10.4 882 8,520 23.7 24.0

1 Due to small sample sizes, American Indians/Alaska Natives are included in the total but are not shown separately. Black includes African American and Hispanic includes Latino. Race categories exclude Hispanic origin unless specified.
2 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.
3 Individuals defined as "second generation or more" were born in the 50 states or the District of Columbia, as were both of their parents.
NOTE: The status dropout rate indicates the percentage of 16- through 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in high school and who lack a high school credential relative to all 16- through 24-year-olds. High school credential includes a high school diploma or equivalent credential such as a GED. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. See Supplemental Notes of Condition of Education 2005 PDF File (299KB) in the Condition of Education 2005 for more information on region. See Supplemental Notes of Condition of Education 2005 PDF File (299KB) in the Condition of Education 2005 for more information about the Current Population Survey.
SOURCE: Table 19-2 from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2005). The Condition of Education 2005, NCES 2005-094, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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.

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