Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates

High school status completion rates increased from 83.6 percent in 1974 to 92.4 percent in 2014 among 18- to 24-year-olds, according to a new report. In the same time period, the gap in completion rates between White youth and Black and Hispanic youth narrowed, although the gaps remain.

The National Center for Education Statistics released Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2014 today (February 22), which draws on a wide array of surveys and administrative datasets to present statistics on high school dropout and completion rates at the state and national levels.

Other key findings from this year’s report are:

  • Between October 2013 and October 2014, approximately 567,000 youth (ages 15- to 24) left school without obtaining a high school credential. These “event dropouts” accounted for 5.2 percent of the 10.9 million 15- to 24-year-olds enrolled in grades 10 through 12;
  • The status dropout rate—the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential—varied by racial/ethnic group. As measured by the American Community Survey, the 2014 status dropout rate was lower for youth who were Asian (2.5 percent), White (4.4 percent), and of Two or more races (5.0 percent) than it was for those who were Black (7.9 percent), Pacific Islander (10.6 percent), Hispanic (10.7 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (11.5 percent); and
  • The gap in high school status completion rates between White and Black youth narrowed from 13.8 percentage points in 1974 to 6.5 percentage points in 1990, showed no measurable change from 1990 to 2000, and fell again from 8.1 percentage points in 2000 to 2.5 percentage points in 2014. The White-Hispanic gap in status completion rates showed no clear trend between 1974 and 2000, but fell from 27.7 percentage points in 2000 to 7.1 percentage points in 2014.

To browse this report’s findings online, please visit https://nces.ed.gov/programs/dropout/index.asp

To download the full report as a PDF file, please visit: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2018117

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