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Education

Narrative

In 2008, there were nearly 3.3 million high school status dropouts in the United States, representing a status dropout rate of 8.0 percent.1 Status dropout refers to those 16-24 years of age who are not enrolled in school and have not earned high school credentials (diploma or equivalent). This rate has declined steadily over the past several decades, with a decrease of 43 percent since 1980 (when the rate was 14.1 percent).

Historically, Hispanic students have had the highest dropout rates among youth of all racial/ethnic groups. Racial/ethnic differences in status dropout rates also vary by student sex and nativity. In 2008, the status dropout rate among Hispanics born in the United States (10.8 percent) was much lower than the rate for foreign-born Hispanics (34.6 percent). Overall, 10.4 percent of males were status dropouts compared to 7.9 percent of females. The highest rate observed was for Hispanic males (21.9 percent).

Children are educated in a variety of settings, including public and private schools and at home. In 2007, the majority of all children aged 5-17 years attending kindergarten through 12th grade were in public schools, including 70.6 percent who attended their assigned public school and 15.0 percent who attended another public school of choice. An additional 11.4 percent of students attended private schools while 2.9 percent were homeschooled.2 School type and setting varied by race/ethnicity. A higher proportion of Hispanic students were enrolled in assigned public schools than non-Hispanic Whites (74.6 versus 69.9 percent, respectively); non-Hispanic Whites were also less likely to be enrolled in a public school of choice (12.0 percent) than non-Hispanic Blacks (23.0 percent). Conversely, a higher proportion of non-Hispanic White children attended private school or were homeschooled.

1 Status dropout refers to those 16–24 years of age who are not enrolled in school and have not earned high school credentials (diploma or equivalent).
2 Percentages may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

Dropout rates by race and sex graph

This image is described in the Data section.

Students by race and school type graph

Data

School Status Dropout* Rates Among Persons Aged 16–24 Years, by Race/Ethnicity and Sex, 2008
Race/Ethnicity Percent of Population
Male Female
*Status dropout refers to those 16-24 years of age who are not enrolled in school and have not earned high school credentials (diploma or equivalent).
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The Condition of Education, 2010. Accessed April 2011.
Total 10.4 7.9
Non-Hispanic White 6.8 5.5
Non-Hispanic Black 12.1 8.8
Hispanic 21.9 15.8
Non-Hispanic Asian 3.5 2.9
Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 8.2 10.8
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 16.9 15.7
Non-Hispanic Two or More Races 7.8 6.7
Students Aged 5-17 Years, by Race/Ethnicity and School Type or Setting, 2007
Race/Ethnicity Percent of Students
Public Assigned Public Chosen Private Homeschooled
*Interpret with caution; coefficient of variation is >30 percent.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics, 2009. Accessed April 2011.
Total 70.6 15.0 11.4 2.9
Non-Hispanic White 69.9 12.0 14.2 3.9
Non-Hispanic Black 68.4 23.0 7.8 0.8*
Hispanic 74.6 17.5 6.3 1.5
Non-Hispanic Other 70.4 16.7 9.4 3.3

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