National Institute on Aging

Latest Data Shows Blacks Four Times as Likely as Whites To Drop Out of High School

Dept_of_Education_LogoThe United States Department of Education recently released data on trends in dropout rates at high schools in the United States. According to the latest data, in 2012, 6.8 percent of the Black students enrolled in high school that year dropped out without receiving their diploma. For non-Hispanic Whites the figure was 1.6 percent.

This so-called “event dropout rate” was the highest for Blacks since 2005 and the second highest rate since 1990. For Whites the event dropout rate was the lowest since 1972.

The “status dropout rate” is defined as the percentage of people ages 16 through 24 who are no longer enrolled in school and do not have a high school diploma or GED. Using this statistic we find that in 2012, 7.5 percent of Blacks ages 16 to 24 were not in school and did not have a high school graduation credential. For Whites, the comparable figure is 4.3 percent.

The good news is that the status dropout rate for Blacks has shown a steady decline since 1973 when it stood at 22.2 percent. In 2012, the  7.5 percent rate is the second lowest since 1972. A year earlier in 2011 the status dropout rate for Blacks was slightly lower at 7.3 percent.

The figures show that although large numbers of Blacks drop out of high school in any given year, the status dropout rate shows that many of them either return to high school or earn a GED certificate later on.

The full report, Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972-2012, can be downloaded here.

Comments (1)

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  1. G E Diego says:

    Does this data really come as a surprise to anyone. There are countless reasons for their failure from family to poor presentation of education to these students. The public educational system as a whole for all students sucks at best.

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