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Highlights

Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups examines the educational progress and challenges students face in the United States by race/ethnicity. This report shows that over time, students in the racial/ethnic groups of White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Two or more races have completed high school and continued their education in college in increasing numbers. Despite these gains, the rate of progress has varied among these racial/ethnic groups and differences by race/ethnicity persist in terms of increases in attainment and progress on key indicators of educational performance.

Demographics:

  • Between 2000 and 2016, the percentage of U.S. children ages 5–17 who were White decreased from 62 percent to 52 percent and the percentage who were Black decreased from 15 to 14 percent. In contrast, the percentage of school-age children from other racial/ethnic groups increased: Hispanics, from 16 to 25 percent; Asians, from 3 to 5 percent; and children of Two or more races, from 2 to 4 percent. The percentage of school-age American Indians/Alaska Natives remained at 1 percent and the percentage of Pacific Islanders remained at less than 1 percent during this time. (Indicator 1).

  • In 2014, about 97 percent of children under age 18 were born within the United States, compared with 96 percent in 2004. The percentage of children born within the United States was 5 percentage points higher in 2014 than in 2004 for Hispanic children (94 vs. 89 percent); in contrast, this percentage was lower in 2014 than in 2004 for Black children (97 vs. 98 percent). (Indicator 2).

  • In 2014, a higher percentage of Asian children under age 18 (82 percent) lived with married parents than the percentage of White children (73 percent), Pacific Islander children (65 percent), Hispanic children and children of Two of more races (56 percent each), American Indian/Alaska Native children (43 percent), and Black children (33 percent) who lived with married parents. (Indicator 3).

  • In 2014, the percentage of children under age 18 living in poverty based on the official poverty measure was highest for Black children (37 percent), followed by Hispanic children (31 percent), and White and Asian children (12 percent each). (Indicator 4).

Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education Participation:

  • In 2012, about 28 percent of children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten regularly received center-based care. The percentage of children who regularly received center-based care was higher for Black (34 percent), Asian (33 percent), and White children (29 percent) than for Hispanic children (22 percent). (Indicator 5).

  • In 2012, a higher percentage of young children from nonpoor families than from poor families regularly received center-based care (34 vs. 20 percent). This same pattern was observed for White, Black, and Hispanic young children. (Indicator 5).

  • Between fall 2003 and fall 2013, the percentage of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools decreased for students who were White (from 59 to 50 percent) and Black (from 17 to 16 percent). In contrast, the percentage increased for students who were Hispanic (from 19 to 25 percent) and Asian/ Pacific Islander (from 4 to 5 percent) during the same time period. (Indicator 6).

  • In 2013–14, the shares of Black and Hispanic students in public charter schools (27 and 30 percent, respectively) were greater than the shares of Black and Hispanic students in traditional public schools (15 and 25 percent, respectively). However, the shares of White and Asian/Pacific Islander students in public charter schools (35 and 4 percent, respectively) were less than the shares of White and Asian/Pacific Islander students in traditional public schools (51 and 5 percent, respectively). (Indicator 6).

  • In 2014, about 4.7 million public school students participated in English language learner (ELL) programs. Hispanic students made up the majority of this group (78 percent), with around 3.6 million participating in ELL programs. (Indicator 7).

  • The ELL program participation rate in public schools in 2014 for some racial/ethnic groups was lower than the total participation rate (9 percent). About 7 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students, 2 percent of Black students, 2 percent of students of Two or more races, and 1 percent of White students participated in ELL programs. In contrast, the percentages of Hispanic (29 percent), Asian (20 percent), and Pacific Islander (15 percent) students participating in ELL programs were higher than the overall percentage in 2014. (Indicator 7).

  • In 2013–14, the percentage of students (i.e., children ages 3–21) served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was highest for American Indian/Alaska Native students (17 percent), followed by Black students (15 percent), White students (13 percent), students of Two or more races (12 percent), Hispanic students (12 percent), Pacific Islander students (11 percent), and Asian students (6 percent). (Indicator 8).

Achievement:

  • At grade 4, the White-Black gap in reading narrowed from 32 points in 1992 to 26 points in 2015; the White-Hispanic gap in 2015 (24 points) was not measurably different from the gap in 1992. At grade 8, the White-Hispanic gap narrowed from 26 points in 1992 to 21 points in 2015; the White-Black gap in 2015 (26 points) was not measurably different from the gap in 1992. (Indicator 9).

  • At grade 12, the White-Black achievement gap in reading was larger in 2015 (30 points) than in 1992 (24 points), while the White-Hispanic reading achievement gap in 2015 (20 points) was not measurably different from the gap in 1992. (Indicator 9).

  • At grade 4, the White-Black achievement gap in mathematics narrowed from 32 points in 1990 to 24 points in 2015; the White-Hispanic gap in 2015 (18 points) was not measurably different from the gap in 1990. At grade 8, there was no measurable difference in the White-Black achievement gap in 2015 (32 points) and 1990. Similarly, the White-Hispanic achievement gap at grade 8 in 2015 (22 points) was not measurably different from the gap in 1990. (Indicator 10).

  • In 2015, the percentage of 8th-graders who reported that they had zero absences from school in the last month was higher for Asian students (65 percent) than for students who were Pacific Islander (47 percent), Black (45 percent), of Two or more races (45 percent), White (44 percent), Hispanic (44 percent), or American Indian/Alaska Native (32 percent). (Indicator 11).

  • A higher percentage of Asian students (45 percent) than of students of any other racial/ethnic group earned their highest math course credit in calculus. The percentage earning their highest math course credit in calculus was also higher for White students (18 percent) than for students of Two or more races (11 percent), Hispanic students (10 percent), and Black students (6 percent). (Indicator 12).

  • The percentage of students who were 9th-graders in fall 2009 earning any Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate (AP/IB) credits by 2013 was higher for Asian students (72 percent) than for White students (40 percent). The percentages for Asian and White students were higher than the percentages for students of any other racial/ethnic group. (Indicator 13).

  • The average number of AP/IB course credits earned in high school by Asian students (4.5 credits) was higher than the average earned by students of any other racial/ethnic group. Additionally, White students earned a higher number of total AP/IB credits in high school (3.1 credits) than Black students (2.7 credits). (Indicator 13).

Student Behaviors and Persistence:

  • Higher overall percentages of Black students (3.0 percent) and Hispanic students (2.9 percent) than of White students (1.8 percent) were retained in 2015. (Indicator 14).

  • In 2011–12, a higher percentage of Black public school students than of public school students from any other racial/ethnic group received an out-of- school suspension (15.4 percent). In contrast, a lower percentage of Asian students (1.5 percent) than of students from any other racial/ethnic group received an out-of-school suspension. (Indicator 14).

  • In 2013, the percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months was higher for American Indian/Alaska Native (18 percent) and Hispanic students (8 percent) than for White (6 percent) and Asian students (5 percent). The percentage was also higher for Black students (8 percent) than for White students. (Indicator 15).

  • From 1992 to 2015 the Hispanic status dropout rate among 16- to 24-year-olds decreased from 32 to 9 percent, while the Black rate decreased from 13 to 6 percent, and the White rate decreased from 9 to 5 percent. Nevertheless, the Hispanic status dropout rate in 2015 remained higher than the Black and White status dropout rates. (Indicator 16).

  • From 1990 to 2015, the high school status completion rate for Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds increased from 59 percent to 88 percent, while the Black and White status completion rates increased from 83 percent to 92 percent and from 90 percent to 95 percent, respectively. Although the White-Hispanic and White-Black gaps in status completion rates for 18- to 24-year-olds narrowed between 1990 and 2015, the rates for Hispanic and Black individuals remained lower than the White rate in 2015. (Indicator 17).

Postsecondary Education:

  • The total college enrollment rate for Asian 18- to 24-year-olds has been higher than the rates for their White, Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native peers, as well as their peers of Two or more races, in every year between 2005 and 2015, and higher than their Pacific Islander peers in all but two of the years during this time span. (Indicator 18).

  • In 2014, a greater percentage of undergraduates were female than male across all racial/ethnic groups. The gap between female and male enrollment was widest for Black students (62 vs. 38 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Native students (60 vs. 40 percent). The gap was narrowest for Asian students (52 vs. 48 percent). (Indicator 19).

  • Among full-time, full-year undergraduate students, 85 percent of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students and 80 percent of Hispanic students received any type of grants in 2011–12. These percentages were higher than the percentages of students of Two or more races (73 percent) and of White (69 percent), Pacific Islander (67 percent), and Asian (63 percent) students who received grants. (Indicator 20).

  • In 2011–12, about 72 percent of Black students received any type of loans, compared with 62 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students, 59 percent of students of Two or more races, 56 percent of White, 51 percent of Hispanic students, 51 percent of Pacific Islander students, and 38 percent of Asian students. (Indicator 20).

  • The 6-year graduation rate in 2014 was 60 percent for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor's degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2008. The 6-year graduation rate was highest for Asian students (71 percent) and lowest for Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students (41 percent each). (Indicator 21).

  • The number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanic students more than doubled between 2003–04 and 2013–14. During the same period, the number of degrees awarded also increased for students who were Black (by 46 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (by 43 percent), and White (by 19 percent). (Indicator 22).

  • In 2013–14, a higher percentage of bachelor's degrees were awarded in the field of business than in any other field across all racial/ethnic groups, ranging from 15 percent for students of Two or more races to 22 percent for Pacific Islander students. (Indicator 23).

  • In 2013–14, the percentage of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) bachelor's degrees awarded to Asian students (31 percent) was almost double the average awarded to students overall (17 percent). The percentage of STEM bachelor's degrees awarded to students of Two or more races (18 percent) was also higher than the percentage awarded to students overall. (Indicator 24).

Outcomes of Education:

  • In 2014, the percentage of adults age 25 and older who had not completed high school was higher for Hispanic adults (35 percent) than for adults in any other racial/ethnic group (ranging from a high of 18 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native adults to a low of 8 percent for White adults). (Indicator 25).

  • In 2014, among those who had not completed high school, higher percentages of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native adults (both 22 percent) than of White adults (13 percent) were unemployed, and a higher percentage of White adults than of Hispanic (8 percent) and Asian (7 percent) adults were unemployed. (Indicator 25).

  • In 2014, among adults ages 25 to 64, higher percentages of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native adults (both 11 percent) than of Hispanic (7 percent), White (5 percent), and Asian (5 percent) adults were unemployed. (Indicator 26).

  • In 2015, the percentage of 20- to 24-year-olds who were neither enrolled in school nor working ranged from 9 percent for Asian young adults to 38 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native young adults. (Indicator 27).

  • In 2014, among those with a bachelor's or higher degree, median annual earnings of Asian full-time workers ages 25–34 ($61,200) were higher than the median annual earnings of their White ($52,800), Black ($46,800), and Hispanic peers ($47,400). (Indicator 28).