What are the dropout rates of high school students?
The status dropout rate1 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 2021, there were 2.0 million status dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24. The overall status dropout rate decreased from 8.3 percent in 2010 to 5.2 percent in 2021.2
The status dropout rate varied by race/ethnicity in 2021. The status dropout rate for Pacific Islanders (7.6 percent) was higher than the rates for White and Asian 16- to 24-year-olds, but it was not measurably different from the rates for other groups. Among the remaining racial/ethnic groups, dropout rates were lowest for Asian and highest for American Indian/Alaska Native 16- to 24-year-olds, with differing rates as follows:
From 2010 to 2021, the status dropout rate declined for 16- to 24-year-olds who were
In contrast, there was no measurable difference between the status dropout rates in 2010 and 2021 for those who were Pacific Islander. Further, there were no measurable differences between the status dropout rates in 2019—the year before the coronavirus pandemic—and 2021 for any racial/ethnic group.
In 2021, the status dropout rate was higher for male 16- to 24-year-olds than for female 16- to 24-year-olds overall (6.1 vs. 4.2 percent). Status dropout rates were higher for males than for females among those who were
However, there were no measurable differences in status dropout rates between males and females who were Pacific Islander.
1 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, individuals living in noninstitutionalized group quarters, and individuals living in institutionalized group quarters. Noninstitutionalized group quarters include college and university housing, military quarters, facilities for workers and religious groups, and temporary shelters for the homeless. Institutionalized group quarters include adult and juvenile correctional facilities, nursing facilities, and other health care facilities. 2 The 2020 data are excluded from trend analyses. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on response rates and survey administration, the Census Bureau changed the 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) release status to an experimental data product, meaning that it does not meet the Census Bureauís typical quality standards. Due to limitations of comparability over time for the experimental data product, 2020 ACS data are excluded from these analyses. For more information see https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/working-papers/2021/acs/2021_CensusBureau_01.pdf.
SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2023). Status Dropout Rates. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/coj.
Numbers in figure titles reflect original numeration from source Condition of Education indicators.
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