The Real Statistics Relating to High School Dropouts in the U.S.

Apr 4, 2014 | 8:00 am
Blog Education
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school chairsWhile many experts are poring over figures which show that high school graduates are enrolling in colleges and universities at an ever decreasing rate, others are more focused on the rates of youths graduating from high school in the first place.  For years those who study the nation’s education system have warned that the United States is facing a crisis as it relates to young people dropping out of high school.  But, as with so many things this nature, this conclusion depends on how the relevant data is interpreted.

First, a definition: according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a high school dropout is someone between ages of 16 and 24 who is not enrolled in school, has not graduated from high school, has not earned a high school diploma, and has not earned a general educational development (G.E.D.) certificate.  According to NCES statistics the national high school dropout rate was 15% in 1970, and 12% in 1990.  In 2011 that figure had decreased to just 7%.  So, according to this measurement, the rate of drop outs among youths in the United States has been on a steady decline.

However, these figures should be taken as an indication of the national high school dropout situation, a situation which varies wildly from state to state region to region.  For example, in 2012 District of Columbia had a graduation rate of just 59%, while states such as Nevada, New Mexico, and Georgia, all saw graduation rates under 70%.  The other hand, states such as Vermont, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Iowa, all saw graduation rates which were above 85%. What these figures indicate is that, though the United States on a whole has done much to address its high school dropout issues, there are still wide variations from state to state.

For more from the Huffington Post, click here.