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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 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 this Fast Fact, status dropout rates are based on data from the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is an annual survey that covers a broad population, including individuals living in households as well as individuals living in noninstitutionalized group quarters (such as college or military housing) and institutionalized group quarters (such as correctional or health care facilities).1 In 2018, there were 2.1 million status dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24, and the overall status dropout rate was 5.3 percent.

The status dropout rate varied by race/ethnicity in 2018. The status dropout rate for Asian 16- to 24-year-olds (1.9 percent) was lower than the rates for their peers who were White (4.2 percent), of Two or more races (5.2 percent), Black (6.4 percent), Hispanic (8.0 percent), Pacific Islander (8.1 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (9.5 percent). In addition, the status dropout rate for those who were White was lower than that of every other racial/ethnic group except those who were Asian. The status dropout rate for those who were Hispanic was higher than that of most racial/ethnic groups, but was not measurably different from the rates for those who were Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native.

The overall status dropout rate decreased from 9.7 percent in 2006 to 5.3 percent in 2018. During this time, the status dropout rate declined for 16- to 24-year-olds who were Hispanic (from 21.0 to 8.0 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (from 15.1 to 9.5 percent), Black (from 11.5 to 6.4 percent), of Two or more races (from 7.8 to 5.2 percent), White (from 6.4 to 4.2 percent), and Asian (from 3.1 to 1.9 percent). In contrast, there was no measurable difference between the status dropout rate in 2006 and 2018 for those who were Pacific Islander.

The status dropout rate was higher for male 16- to 24-year-olds than for female 16- to 24-year-olds overall (6.2 vs. 4.4 percent) and within most racial/ethnic groups in 2018. Status dropout rates were higher for males than for females among those who were White (4.8 vs. 3.6 percent), Black (7.8 vs. 4.9 percent), Hispanic (9.6 vs. 6.3 percent), Asian (2.3 vs. 1.6 percent), and of Two or more races (5.9 vs. 4.4 percent). However, there were no measurable differences in status dropout rates between males and females for those who were Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaska Native. The size of the male-female gap also differed by race/ethnicity. The male-female gaps for those who were Hispanic (3.3 percentage points) and Black (2.9 percentage points) were higher than the male-female gaps for those who were of Two or more races (1.6 percentage points), White (1.1 percentage points), and Asian (0.7 percentage points).


Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity: 2006 through 2018

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

1 Includes other racial/ethnic categories not separately shown.

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.


1 More specifically, institutionalized group quarters include adult and juvenile correctional facilities, nursing facilities, and other health care facilities. Noninstitutionalized group quarters include college and university housing, military quarters, facilities for workers and religious groups, and temporary shelters for the homeless.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). The Condition of Education 2020 (NCES 2020-144), Status Dropout Rates.

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