Black High School Dropout Rate Is More Than Double the Rate for Whites

The quintessential qualification for college is a high school diploma. But new data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that black students are dropping out of high school at a rate that is double that for whites.

The report found that 6 percent of all black students in grades 9 to 12 who were enrolled in the 2003-04 academic year did not graduate or return to school for the 2004-05 academic year. For whites, the rate was 2.8 percent, less than one half the prevailing rate for blacks.

The highest black student dropout rate was in Alaska where more than 12 percent of black high school students dropped out of school that year. In Colorado the black dropout rate was more than 11 percent, and in Louisiana the black student dropout rate was 10.2 percent.

The lowest black student dropout rates were in Montana and Connecticut. In Montana the black dropout rate was lower than the rate for whites. Montana was the only state in the nation in which whites were more likely than blacks to drop out of high school.

It is important to note that this data is for a one-year period only. The overall dropout rate for students who enter high school and do not eventually graduate is considerably higher than the percentages noted here.