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Indicators

Status Dropout Rates
(Last Updated: May 2018)

The overall status dropout rate decreased from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 6.1 percent in 2016. During this time, the Hispanic status dropout rate decreased by 19.2 percentage points, while the Black and White status dropout rates decreased by 6.9 and 1.7 percentage points, respectively. Nevertheless, in 2016 the Hispanic status dropout rate (8.6 percent) remained higher than the Black (6.2 percent) and White (5.2 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 2016

Figure 1. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by sex: 2000 through 2016


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 the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities).
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October 2000 through 2016. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 219.70.


Based on data from the CPS, the overall status dropout rate decreased from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 6.1 percent in 2016. More recently, from 2010 to 2016, the status dropout rate fell from 7.4 to 6.1 percent. Between 2000 and 2016, the male status dropout rate declined from 12.0 to 7.1 percent, and the female status dropout rate declined from 9.9 to 5.1 percent. The 2016 status dropout rate was 2.0 percentage points higher for male youth than for female youth.


Figure 2. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity: 2000 through 2016

Figure 2. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity: 2000 through 2016


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 the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities). 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 2016. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 219.70.


In each year from 2000 to 2016, the status dropout rates for White youth and Black youth were lower than the rate for Hispanic youth. During this time, the status dropout rate for White youth was also lower than the rate for Black youth in every year except 2016, when there was no measurable difference between the two rates. From 2000 to 2016, the status dropout rate declined from 6.9 to 5.2 percent for White youth, from 13.1 to 6.2 percent for Black youth, and from 27.8 to 8.6 percent for Hispanic youth. As a result, the gap between White and Black youth was 6.2 percentage points in 2000 but no longer statistically significant in 2016, and the gap between White and Hispanic youth narrowed from 20.9 percentage points in 2000 to 3.4 percentage points in 2016.


Figure 3. Percentage distribution of status dropouts, by years of school completed: 2000 through 2016

Figure 3. Percentage distribution of status dropouts, by years of school completed: 2000 through 2016


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 the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities).
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October 2000 through 2016. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 219.75.


The decline in the overall status dropout rate from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 6.1 percent in 2016 coincided with a shift in the distribution of years of school completed by status dropouts, as fewer status dropouts completed 9 years of schooling while more completed 11 or 12 years of schooling. The percentage of status dropouts with 9 years of schooling decreased from 15.3 percent in 2000 to 10.8 percent in 2016. 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 49.7 percent in 2016.

Based on data from the ACS, which covers a broader population than the CPS, the overall status dropout rate in 2016 was 5.8 percent. The status dropout rate was lower for individuals living in households and noninstitutionalized group quarters (5.5 percent) than for individuals living in institutionalized group quarters (33.7 percent).

According to data from the ACS, the status dropout rate varied by race/ethnicity in 2016. The status dropout rate was 2.0 percent for Asian youth, which was lower than the rates for White youth (4.5 percent) and youth of Two or more races (4.8 percent). The status dropout rates for these three groups were all lower than the rates for Pacific Islander (6.9 percent) and Black youth (7.0 percent), which were, in turn, lower than the rates for Hispanic (9.1 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Native youth (11.0 percent).


Figure 4. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and nativity: 2016

Figure 4. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and nativity: 2016


! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent. 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 counted 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), 2016. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 219.80.


Differences in status dropout rates between U.S.- and foreign-born youth2 varied by race/ethnicity in 2016. Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander 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 6.5 percent for U.S.-born Hispanic youth versus 16.1 percent for foreign-born Hispanic youth. The status dropout rate was 1.0 percent for U.S.-born Asian youth versus 3.0 percent for their foreign-born peers. Similarly, the status dropout rate was 3.9 percent for U.S.-born Pacific Islander youth versus 13.7 percent for their foreign-born peers. There were no measurable differences in status dropout rates by nativity for White, Black, and American Indian/Alaska Native youth and for youth of Two or more races.


1 More specifically, institutional 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.
2 Includes youth living in households and noninstitutionalized group quarters. Excludes youth living in institutionalized group quarters.


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