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Dropout rates

Question:
What are the dropout rates of high school students?

Response:

The status dropout rate represents the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds (referred to as "youth" in this Fast Fact) who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential (either a diploma or an equivalency credential such as a GED certificate). In 2017, there were 2.1 million status dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24 and the overall status dropout rate was 5.4 percent.

The status dropout rate varied by race/ethnicity in 2017. American Indian/Alaska Native youth had the highest status dropout rate (10.1 percent) of all racial/ethnic groups, including youth who were Hispanic (8.2 percent), Black (6.5 percent), of Two or more races (4.5 percent), White (4.3 percent), Pacific Islander (3.9 percent), and Asian (2.1 percent). In addition, Hispanic and Black youth had higher status dropout rates than youth of Two or more races and White, Pacific Islander, and Asian youth. In contrast, Asian youth had the lowest status dropout rate of all racial/ethnic groups except for Pacific Islander youth, whose status dropout rate was not measurably different from the rate for Asian youth.

The overall status dropout rate decreased from 9.7 percent in 2006 to 5.4 percent in 2017. During this time, the status dropout rate declined for Hispanic youth (from 21.0 to 8.2 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native youth (from 15.1 to 10.1 percent), and Black youth (from 11.5 to 6.5 percent). In addition, the status dropout rate decreased for youth of Two or more races (from 7.8 to 4.5 percent), White youth (from 6.4 to 4.3 percent), and Asian youth (from 3.1 to 2.1 percent). The status dropout rate was higher in 2006 compared to 2017 for Pacific Islander youth (7.4 vs. 3.9 percent).

The status dropout rate was higher for male youth than for female youth overall (6.4 vs. 4.4 percent) and within most racial/ethnic groups in 2017. Status dropout rates were higher for males than for females among White (4.9 vs. 3.6 percent), Black (8.0 vs. 4.9 percent), Hispanic (10.0 vs. 6.4 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (11.6 vs. 8.5 percent) youth, and youth of Two or more races (5.2 vs. 3.9 percent). However, there were no measurable differences in status dropout rates between males and females for Asian youth and Pacific Islander youth. The size of the male-female gap also differed by race/ethnicity. The male-female gaps for Hispanic (3.6 percentage points) and Black (3.1 percentage points) youth were higher than the male-female gaps for youth of Two or more races (1.3 percentage points) and White youth (1.2 percentage points).


Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity: 2006 through 2017

NOTE: The status dropout rate is the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential (either a diploma or an equivalency credential such as a GED certificate). Data are based on sample surveys of persons living in households, noninstitutionalized group quarters (including college and university housing, military quarters, facilities for workers and religious groups, and temporary shelters for the homeless), and institutionalized group quarters (including adult and juvenile correctional facilities, nursing facilities, and other health care facilities). Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). The Condition of Education 2019 (NCES 2019-144), Status Dropout Rates.

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