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Indicators

Status Dropout Rates
(Last Updated: April 2017)

The status dropout rate decreased from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 5.9 percent in 2015. During this time, the Hispanic status dropout rate decreased by 18.6 percentage points, while the Black and White status dropout rates decreased by 6.6 and 2.4 percentage points, respectively. Nevertheless, in 2015 the Hispanic status dropout rate (9.2 percent) remained higher than the Black (6.5 percent) and White (4.6 percent) status dropout rates.

The status dropout rate represents the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds (referred to as youth in this indicator) 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 indicator, status dropout rates are estimated using both the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the American Community Survey (ACS). The CPS is a household survey that has been collected annually for decades, allowing for the analysis of long-term trends, or changes over time, for the civilian, noninstitutionalized population. The ACS covers a broader 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 nursing facilities).1 ACS data are available for fewer years than CPS data, but can provide detail on smaller demographic groups.


Figure 1. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by sex: 2000 through 2015

Figure 1. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by sex: 2000 through 2015


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 the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in prisons, persons in the military, and other persons not living in households.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October 2000 through 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.70.


Based on data from the CPS, the status dropout rate decreased from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 5.9 percent in 2015. Over the most recent 5-year period, from 2010 to 2015, the status dropout rate fell from 7.4 to 5.9 percent. Between 2000 and 2015, the male status dropout rate declined from 12.0 to 6.3 percent, and the female status dropout rate declined from 9.9 to 5.4 percent. While the rate for male youth was 2.1 percentage points higher than the rate for female youth in 2000, there was no measurable difference between the rates for males and females in 2015.


Figure 2. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity: 2000 through 2015

Figure 2. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity: 2000 through 2015


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 the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in prisons, persons in the military, and other persons not living in households. Data for all races include other racial/ethnic categories not separately shown. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October 2000 through 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.70.


In each year from 2000 to 2015, the status dropout rate was lower for White youth than for Black youth, and the rates for both groups were lower than the rate for Hispanic youth. During this period, the status dropout rate declined from 6.9 to 4.6 percent for White youth; from 13.1 to 6.5 percent for Black youth; and from 27.8 to 9.2 percent for Hispanic youth. As a result, the gap between White and Black youth narrowed from 6.2 percentage points in 2000 to 1.9 percentage points in 2015. The gap between White and Hispanic youth narrowed from 20.9 percentage points in 2000 to 4.6 percentage points in 2015.


Figure 3. Percentage distribution of status dropouts, by years of school completed: 2000 through 2015

Figure 3. Percentage distribution of status dropouts, by years of school completed: 2000 through 2015


NOTE: "Status dropouts" are 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 the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in prisons, persons in the military, and other persons not living in households.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October 2000 through 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.75.


The decline in the overall status dropout rate from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 5.9 percent in 2015 coincided with a shift in the distribution of years of school completed by status dropouts, as fewer status dropouts completed less than 9 years of schooling, while more completed 11 or 12 years of schooling. The percentage of status dropouts with less than 9 years of schooling decreased from 21.5 percent in 2000 to 14.5 percent in 2015. Conversely, the percentage of status dropouts who had completed 11 or 12 years of schooling but did not receive a diploma or GED certificate increased from 40.0 percent in 2000 to 50.2 percent in 2015.

Based on data from the ACS (which covers a broader population than the CPS), the overall status dropout rate in 2015 was 6.0 percent. The status dropout rate was lower for individuals living in households and noninstitutionalized group quarters (5.7 percent) than for individuals living in institutionalized group quarters (34.6 percent).

According to data from the ACS, the status dropout rate varied by race/ethnicity in 2015. The status dropout rate was lower for Asian youth (2.4 percent), White youth (4.5 percent), and youth of Two or more races (4.7 percent), than for Black (7.2 percent), Hispanic (9.9 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native youth (13.2 percent). The rate for Pacific Islander youth (5.4 percent) was lower than the rates for Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native youth, but not measurably different from those of other racial groups.


Figure 4. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by selected Hispanic subgroups: 2015

Figure 4. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by selected Hispanic subgroups: 2015


! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
Includes other Central American subgroups not shown separately.
NOTE: This figure uses a different data source than figure 2; therefore, estimates are not directly comparable to the estimates in figure 2. 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 (such as college or military housing), and institutionalized group quarters (such as correctional or nursing facilities).
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.80.


Data from the ACS can also be used to estimate the status dropout rate for many specific Hispanic and Asian subgroups, including, for example, youth of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Chinese, and Vietnamese descent. In 2015, the total status dropout rate for Hispanic youth was 9.9 percent. Status dropout rates for youth of Guatemalan (22.8 percent), Honduran (18.9 percent), and Salvadoran (13.8 percent) descent were higher than the total rate for all Hispanic youth. In addition, the overall status dropout rate for Central American2 youth (15.8 percent) was higher than the total Hispanic rate. The status dropout rates for Dominican, Mexican, and Nicaraguan youth were not measurably different from the total Hispanic rate. The rates for the remaining Hispanic subgroups presented were lower than the total Hispanic rate. For example, the status dropout rate was 8.7 percent for Puerto Rican youth and 4.1 percent for Cuban youth.


Figure 5. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by selected Asian subgroups: 2015

Figure 5. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by selected Asian subgroups: 2015


! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
1 Includes Taiwanese.
2 In addition to the subgroups shown, also includes Sri Lankan.
3 Consists of Indonesian and Malaysian.
NOTE: This figure uses a different data source than figure 2; therefore, estimates are not directly comparable to the estimates in figure 2. 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 (such as college or military housing), and institutionalized group quarters (such as correctional or nursing facilities).
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.80.


Among Asian youth, the total status dropout rate was 2.4 percent in 2015. Three Asian subgroups had status dropout rates that were higher than the total Asian rate: Burmese (23.8 percent), Cambodian (9.4 percent), and Nepalese (7.8 percent). In addition, the overall status dropout rate for Southeast Asian3 youth (5.0 percent) was higher than the total Asian rate. Status dropout rates for Asian Indian (1.7 percent), Chinese4 (1.5 percent), and Korean (1.4) youth were lower than the total rate for all Asian youth. Status dropout rates for the remaining Asian subgroups presented were not measurably different from the total rate for all Asian youth.


Figure 6. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and nativity: 2015

Figure 6. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and nativity: 2015


! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
NOTE: This figure uses a different data source than figure 2; therefore, estimates are not directly comparable to the estimates in figure 2. United States refers to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marianas. 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 and noninstitutionalized group quarters (such as college or military housing). Among those counted in noninstitutionalized group quarters in the American Community Survey, only the residents of military barracks are not included in the civilian noninstitutionalized population in the Current Population Survey. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2015. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.80.


Differences in status dropout rates between U.S.- and foreign-born youth5 varied by race/ethnicity in 2015. Hispanic and Asian youth born in the United States had lower status dropout rates than did their peers born outside of the United States. The status dropout rate was 7.3 percent for U.S.-born Hispanic youth versus 18.7 percent for foreign-born Hispanic youth. The status dropout rate was 1.5 percent for U.S.-born Asian youth versus 3.5 percent for their foreign-born peers. There were no measurable differences in status dropout rates by nativity for White, Black, and Pacific Islander youth and for youth of Two or more races.6


1 More specifically, institutional group quarters include adult and juvenile correctional facilities, nursing facilities, and other health care facilities. Noninstitutional group quarters include college and university housing, military quarters, facilities for workers and religious groups, and temporary shelters for the homeless.
2 Consists of the Costa Rican, Guatemalan, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, and Salvadoran subgroups and other Central American subgroups not shown separately.
3 Consists of the Burmese, Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Other Southeast Asian (i.e., Indonesian and Malaysian) subgroups
4 Includes Taiwanese.
5 Includes youth living in households and noninstitutionalized group quarters. Excludes youth living in institutionalized group quarters.
6 Status dropout rates were unavailable for foreign-born American Indian/Alaska Native youth.


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