Skip Navigation
Click to open navigation
Indicators

Status Dropout Rates
(Last Updated: May 2019)

The overall status dropout rate decreased from 9.7 percent in 2006 to 5.4 percent in 2017. During this time, the Hispanic status dropout rate decreased from 21.0 percent to 8.2 percent and the Black status dropout rate decreased from 11.5 percent to 6.5 percent, while the White status dropout rate decreased from 6.4 percent to 4.3 percent. Nevertheless, in 2017 the Hispanic (8.2 percent) and Black (6.5 percent) status dropout rates remained higher than the White (4.3 percent) status dropout rate.

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 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 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.


Figure 1. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity: 2006 through 2017

Figure 1. 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 Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2006 through 2017. See Digest of Education Statistics 2018, table 219.80.


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).

In each year from 2006 to 2017, the status dropout rate for Hispanic youth was higher than the rate for Black youth, and the status dropout rates for both groups were higher than the rate for White youth. Between 2006 and 2017, the gap in status dropout rates between Hispanic and White youth decreased from 14.6 percentage points to 3.9 percentage points and the gap between Black and White youth decreased from 5.2 percentage points to 2.2 percentage points. During the same period, the gap between Hispanic and Black youth decreased from 9.5 percentage points to 1.7 percentage points.


Figure 2. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2017

Figure 2. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2017


! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
1 Includes respondents who wrote in some other race that was not included as an option on the questionnaire.
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. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2017. See Digest of Education Statistics 2018, table 219.80.


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).


Figure 3. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and nativity: 2017

Figure 3. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and nativity: 2017


! 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 respondents who wrote in some other race that was not included as an option on the questionnaire.
2 Includes those born in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marianas, as well as those born abroad to U.S.-citizen parents.     
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 Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2017. See Digest of Education Statistics 2018, table 219.80.


Overall, U.S.-born youth2 had a lower status dropout rate in 2017 than foreign-born youth (5.0 vs. 8.9 percent). Differences in status dropout rates between U.S.- and foreign-born youth varied by race/ethnicity. The status dropout rate for Hispanic youth born in the United States was 8.9 percentage points lower than the rate for Hispanic youth born outside of the United States (6.3 and 15.2 percent, respectively). The status dropout rate for Asian youth born in the United States was 1.3 percentage points lower than the rate for their peers born outside of the United States (1.5 and 2.8 percent, respectively). However, White and Black youth born in the United States had higher status dropout rates (4.3 and 6.6 percent, respectively) than did their peers born outside of the United States (3.5 and 5.1 percent, respectively). There were no measurable differences in status dropout rates by nativity for Pacific Islander youth or for youth of Two or more races.


Figure 4. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and noninstitutionalized or institutionalized status: 2017

Figure 4. Status dropout rates of 16- to 24-year-olds, by race/ethnicity and noninstitutionalized or institutionalized status: 2017


! 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 respondents who wrote in some other race that was not included as an option on the questionnaire.
2 Includes persons living in households as well as persons living in noninstitutionalized group quarters. Noninstitutionalized group quarters include college and university housing, military quarters, facilities for workers and religious groups, and temporary shelters for the homeless.    
3 Includes persons living in institutionalized group quarters, including adult and juvenile correctional facilities, nursing facilities, and other health care facilities.       
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, and institutionalized group quarters. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.        
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2017. See Digest of Education Statistics 2018, table 219.80.


In 2017, the status dropout rate was lower for individuals living in households and noninstitutionalized group quarters such as college or military housing (5.1 percent) than for individuals living in institutionalized group quarters such as correctional or health care facilities (32.4 percent). The status dropout rate was also lower for noninstitutionalized individuals than for institutionalized individuals within the following groups: White youth (4.2 vs. 25.1 percent), Black youth (5.5 vs. 38.3 percent), Hispanic youth (8.0 vs. 33.0 percent), Pacific Islander youth (3.3 vs. 32.1 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native youth (9.7 vs. 28.0 percent), and youth of Two or more races (4.3 vs. 26.4 percent).

The status dropout rate also differed by disability status3 in 2017. The status dropout rate was 12.1 percent for youth with a disability versus 5.0 percent for youth without a disability in 2017.


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.
2 U.S.-born youth include those born in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marianas, as well as those born abroad to U.S.-citizen parents.
3 In this indicator, a disability is a long-lasting physical, mental, or emotional condition that can make it difficult for a person to do activities such as walking, climbing stairs, dressing, bathing, learning, or remembering. The condition can also impede a person from being able to go outside the home alone or to work at a job or business. For more details, see https://www.census.gov/topics/health/disability/about/glossary.html.


Glossary Terms

Data Sources