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Digest of Education Statistics
2018 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest


Table 504.20. Labor force status of recent high school dropouts, by sex and race/ethnicity: Selected years, October 1980 through 2017
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Year, sex, and race/ethnicity Number of dropouts (in thousands) Percent of all dropouts Percentage distribution of dropouts Labor force participa-tion rate of dropouts1 Dropouts in civilian labor force2 Dropouts not in labor force (in thousands)
Employed Unemployed (seeking employment) Not in labor force Number (in thousands) Unemployment rate
Total Unemployed (seeking employment)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
  Estimates for individual years
All dropouts                                                            
1980 738   (44.0) 100.0   (†) 43.8   (2.97) 20.0   (2.37) 36.2   (2.87) 63.8   (2.87) 471   (35.2) 148   (19.5) 31.4   (3.44) 267   (26.5)
1990 412   (36.0) 100.0   (†) 46.3   (4.37) 21.6   (3.57) 32.2   (4.09) 67.8   (4.09) 279   (29.7) 89   (16.6) 31.8   (4.90) 132   (20.4)
2000 515   (28.5) 100.0   (†) 48.7   (2.77) 19.2   (3.01) 32.0   (2.59) 68.0   (2.59) 350   (23.5) 99   (17.2) 28.1   (4.16) 165   (16.2)
2005 407   (35.3) 100.0   (†) 38.3   (4.22) 18.9   (3.42) 42.8   (3.32) 57.2   (4.30) 233   (26.7) 77   (15.4) 32.9   (5.42) 174   (17.9)
20103 340   (29.0) 100.0   (†) 30.9   (4.24) 23.0   (4.29) 46.1   (4.78) 53.9   (4.78) 183   (21.5) 78   (16.0) 42.7   (6.67) 157   (21.9)
20163 513   (40.6) 100.0   (†) 34.7   (4.01) 16.2   (3.00) 49.1   (3.72) 50.9   (3.72) 261   (29.9) 83   (16.7) 31.9   (5.65) 252   (25.3)
20173 530   (42.6) 100.0   (†) 33.9   (3.53) 7.9   (2.06) 58.2   (3.66) 41.8   (3.66) 222   (23.4)   (†) 18.9   (4.59) 308   (34.2)
  3-year moving averages4
All dropouts                                                            
1980 748   (44.3) 100.0   (†) 44.4   (1.70) 19.9   (1.38) 35.7   (1.27) 64.3   (1.64) 481   (35.6) 149   (19.9) 30.9   (1.99) 267   (20.5)
1990 413   (36.1) 100.0   (†) 43.5   (2.50) 21.5   (2.08) 35.0   (1.86) 65.0   (2.41) 268   (29.1) 89   (16.8) 33.1   (2.96) 144   (16.5)
2000 515   (41.8) 100.0   (†) 44.1   (2.33) 19.0   (1.85) 36.9   (1.75) 63.1   (2.27) 325   (33.2) 98   (18.3) 30.1   (2.72) 190   (19.7)
2005 449   (37.1) 100.0   (†) 36.8   (2.30) 17.7   (1.83) 45.5   (1.84) 54.5   (2.38) 245   (27.4) 79   (15.7) 32.5   (3.04) 205   (19.4)
2010 365   (33.4) 100.0   (†) 28.7   (2.39) 23.7   (2.26) 47.6   (2.04) 52.4   (2.64) 191   (24.2) 87   (16.4) 45.2   (3.65) 174   (17.8)
2016 521   (27.4) 100.0   (†) 35.1   (2.31) 11.0   (1.67) 53.8   (2.32) 46.2   (2.32) 241   (17.7) 57   (9.7) 23.9   (3.37) 281   (18.8)
2017 522   (29.6) 100.0   (†) 34.3   (2.76) 12.0   (1.85) 53.7   (2.68) 46.3   (2.68) 241   (19.9) 63   (10.3) 25.9   (3.80) 280   (20.7)
                                                             
Sex                                                            
Male                                                            
1980 393   (31.6) 52.6   (1.69) 55.5   (2.31) 19.5   (1.84) 25.0   (2.01) 75.0   (2.01) 295   (27.4) 77   (14.0) 25.9   (2.35) 98   (15.8)
1990 216   (25.7) 52.3   (2.48) 50.9   (3.44) 25.2   (2.98) 23.9   (2.93) 76.1   (2.93) 164   (22.4) 55   (12.9) 33.1   (3.71) 52   (12.6)
2000 279   (30.3) 54.1   (2.30) 49.8   (3.14) 19.6   (2.49) 30.7   (2.90) 69.3   (2.90) 193   (25.2) 55   (13.4) 28.2   (3.39) 85   (16.8)
2005 254   (27.4) 56.5   (2.33) 40.0   (3.06) 19.0   (2.45) 41.0   (3.07) 59.0   (3.07) 150   (21.1) 48   (12.0) 32.2   (3.80) 104   (17.6)
2010 196   (24.1) 53.6   (2.60) 32.1   (3.32) 22.4   (2.97) 45.5   (3.54) 54.5   (3.54) 107   (17.8) 44   (11.4) 41.2   (4.74) 89   (16.3)
2016 298   (20.3) 57.1   (2.35) 39.4   (3.15) 13.0   (2.39) 47.6   (3.11) 52.4   (3.11) 156   (13.9) 39   (7.8) 24.9   (4.24) 142   (13.5)
2017 306   (23.3) 58.7   (2.80) 41.0   (3.79) 13.5   (2.54) 45.6   (3.57) 54.4   (3.57) 167   (16.2) 41   (8.2) 24.7   (4.47) 139   (15.6)
Female                                                            
1980 354   (29.1) 47.4   (1.63) 32.1   (2.21) 20.4   (1.91) 47.5   (2.37) 52.5   (2.37) 186   (21.1) 72   (13.1) 38.9   (3.19) 168   (20.0)
1990 197   (23.7) 47.7   (2.40) 35.4   (3.33) 17.4   (2.64) 47.2   (3.48) 52.8   (3.48) 104   (17.2) 34   (9.9) 33.0   (4.51) 93   (16.3)
2000 236   (27.0) 45.9   (2.23) 37.4   (3.19) 18.3   (2.55) 44.3   (3.28) 55.7   (3.28) 132   (20.1) 43   (11.6) 32.9   (4.15) 105   (18.0)
2005 196   (23.3) 43.5   (2.25) 32.6   (3.23) 16.0   (2.52) 51.4   (3.44) 48.6   (3.44) 95   (16.2) 31   (9.3) 32.9   (4.64) 101   (16.7)
2010 169   (21.7) 46.4   (2.51) 24.9   (3.20) 25.1   (3.21) 50.0   (3.70) 50.0   (3.70) 85   (15.3) 43   (10.9) 50.2   (5.23) 85   (15.3)
2016 224   (16.5) 42.9   (2.35) 29.5   (3.19) 8.4   (1.93) 62.2   (3.26) 37.8   (3.26) 85   (9.6)   (†) 22.1   (4.82) 139   (12.4)
2017 216   (18.3) 41.3   (2.80) 24.8   (3.96) 10.0   (2.54) 65.2   (4.32) 34.8   (4.32) 75   (11.3)   (†) 28.6   (6.67) 141   (15.0)
                                                             
Race/ethnicity                                                            
White                                                            
1980 494   (36.0) 66.0   (1.62) 50.9   (2.11) 17.6   (1.61) 31.5   (1.52) 68.5   (1.96) 338   (29.8) 87   (15.2) 25.7   (2.24) 156   (15.7)
1990 240   (27.5) 58.0   (2.49) 51.4   (3.31) 19.3   (2.63) 29.3   (2.33) 70.7   (3.02) 170   (23.1) 46   (12.1) 27.3   (3.53) 70   (11.5)
2000 279   (30.8) 54.1   (2.34) 48.3   (3.19) 18.7   (2.50) 33.0   (2.32) 67.0   (3.00) 187   (25.2) 52   (13.4) 27.8   (3.51) 92   (13.7)
2005 215   (25.7) 48.0   (2.38) 41.6   (3.40) 14.2   (2.42) 44.2   (2.64) 55.8   (3.42) 120   (19.2) 31 ! (9.7) 25.5   (4.04) 95   (13.2)
2010 164   (22.4) 45.0   (2.63) 32.7   (3.70) 20.8   (3.22) 46.4   (3.04) 53.6   (3.93) 88   (16.4) 34 ! (10.3) 38.9   (5.28) 76   (11.8)
2016 246   (15.0) 47.2   (2.34) 45.9   (3.25) 8.6   (1.66) 45.5   (3.12) 54.5   (3.12) 134   (12.2)   (†) 15.8   (3.02) 112   (9.3)
2017 257   (18.8) 49.3   (2.95) 42.0   (3.67) 10.7   (2.18) 47.3   (3.65) 52.7   (3.65) 135   (14.1)   (†) 20.3   (3.99) 122   (12.4)
Black                                                            
1980 154   (21.3) 20.6   (1.47) 21.0   (3.27) 28.3   (3.62) 50.6   (4.01) 49.4   (4.01) 76   (15.0) 44   (11.4) 57.4   (5.65) 78   (15.2)
1990 96   (18.5) 23.3   (2.27) 27.1   (4.93) 29.0   (5.04) 43.9   (5.51) 56.1   (5.51) 54   (13.8) 28 ! (10.0) 51.7   (7.41) 42   (12.3)
2000 102   (19.7) 19.8   (1.98) 28.0   (5.03) 22.2   (4.65) 49.8   (5.60) 50.2   (5.60) 51   (14.0)   (†) 44.2   (7.85) 51   (13.9)
2005 88   (17.4) 19.5   (2.01) 21.5   (4.71) 27.7   (5.13) 50.9   (5.73) 49.1   (5.73) 43   (12.2)   (†) 56.3   (8.11) 45   (12.4)
2010 70   (15.6) 19.3   (2.22) 22.4   (5.33) 30.4   (5.88) 47.2   (6.38) 52.8   (6.38) 37 ! (11.3)   (†) 57.5   (8.69) 33 ! (10.7)
2016 89   (10.7) 17.0   (1.79) 27.6   (5.38) 16.0 ! (5.14) 56.4   (6.50) 43.6   (6.50) 39   (7.6)   (†) 36.7   (9.74) 50   (8.1)
2017 83   (12.6) 15.9   (2.16) 28.3   (6.43) 12.6 ! (5.44) 59.1   (7.58) 40.9   (7.58)   (†)   (†)   (†) 49   (10.1)
Hispanic                                                            
1980 84   (18.7) 11.3   (1.36) 48.2   (6.40) 19.5   (5.07) 32.3   (5.99) 67.7   (5.99) 57   (15.4)   (†) 28.8   (7.05) 27 ! (10.6)
1990 66   (15.3) 15.9   (1.96) 39.3   (6.56) 19.9   (5.36) 40.8   (6.60) 59.2   (6.60) 39 ! (11.8)   (†) 33.5   (8.24) 27 ! (9.8)
2000 113   (20.8) 21.9   (2.06) 50.4   (5.32) 17.7   (4.06) 31.9   (4.96) 68.1   (4.96) 77   (17.1)   (†) 26.0   (5.66) 36 ! (11.7)
2005 125   (20.8) 27.9   (2.27) 39.2   (4.68) 16.1   (3.52) 44.7   (4.77) 55.3   (4.77) 69   (15.4)   (†) 29.1   (5.86) 56   (13.9)
2010 102   (18.8) 28.0   (2.52) 25.8   (4.64) 24.3   (4.55) 49.9   (5.30) 50.1   (5.30) 51   (13.3) 25 ! (9.3) 48.4   (7.49) 51   (13.3)
2016 140   (14.7) 26.8   (2.20) 22.5   (3.83) 13.0   (2.81) 64.5   (3.97) 35.5   (3.97) 50   (7.9)   (†) 36.6   (7.25) 90   (10.5)
2017 137   (15.3) 26.4   (2.48) 24.7   (4.94) 13.7   (3.46) 61.6   (5.12) 38.4   (5.12) 53   (8.8)   (†) 35.6   (8.26) 85   (12.1)
†Not applicable.
!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 The labor force participation rate is the percentage of persons who are either employed or seeking employment.
2 The labor force includes all employed persons plus those seeking employment. The unemployment rate is the percentage of persons in the labor force who are not working and who made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the prior 4 weeks.
3 Beginning in 2010, standard errors for the individual year estimates were computed using replicate weights in order to produce more precise values. This methodology can only be used for these estimates. For all other estimates in the table, standard errors were computed using generalized variance function methodology.
4 A 3-year moving average is the arithmetic average of the year indicated, the year immediately preceding, and the year immediately following. For example, the estimates shown for 2000 reflect an average of 1999, 2000, and 2001. Use of a moving average increases the sample size, thereby reducing the size of sampling errors and producing more stable estimates. For the final year of available data, a 2-year moving average is used; thus, the estimates for 2017 reflect the average of 2016 and 2017.
NOTE: 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 are for October of a given year. Dropouts are considered persons 16 to 24 years old who dropped out of school in the 12-month period ending in October of years shown. Includes dropouts from any grade, including a small number from elementary and middle schools. Totals include race categories not separately shown. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), selected years, October 1979 through 2017. (This table was prepared May 2019.)

2018 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest