The U.S. Department of Education utilizes two methods for measuring high school dropout rates: status dropout rates and event dropout rates. Both measurements indicate that the high school dropout rate in the United States has decreased over time.
Status dropout rates refer to the percentage of people aged 16 through 24 who are not currently enrolled in school and have not earned a high school diploma or GED. Between 1990 and 2013, the status dropout rate decreased from 12 percent to 7 percent.
Event dropout rates refer to the number of students who leave school each year. In the 2011-12 school year, the event dropout rate was 3.4 percent, meaning 3.4 percent of students dropped out of school that year.
Dropout rates vary among different racial/ethnic groups and among student genders.