How Has the High School Dropout Rate Changed Over Time?


Quick Answer

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.

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Full Answer

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.

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