The Racial Gap in High School Completion Rates No Longer Exists

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education offers new data on high school dropout and completion rates. Some of the data is broken down by racial and ethnic groups.

Here are some of the key findings:

The status completion rate is the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who have left high school and who hold a high school credential. From 1977 to 2016, the status completion rate for White 18- to 24-year-olds was consistently higher than the rate for Black 18- to 24-year-olds. Now, for the first time in 40 years, the status completion rate for Black 18- to 24-year-olds was not measurably different from that of White 18- to 24-year-olds. In 2017, 93.8 percent of young Blacks had completed high school compared to 94.8 percent of Whites.

Between October 2016 and October 2017, the number of 15- to 24-year-olds who left school without obtaining a high school credential was approximately 523,000. This so-called event dropout rate was 5.5 percent for Black students and 3.9 percent for White students.

The status dropout rate is the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential. In 2017, the status dropout rate for all 16- to 24-year-olds was 5.4 percent. For Blacks the status dropout rate was 6.5 percent, compared to a rate of 4.3 for White students.

The full report, Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2019, may be downloaded by clicking here.


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