Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. EA 1.4 Teen dropout

04/01/1997

High school dropouts have lower earnings, experience more unemployment, and are more likely to end up on welfare and in prison than their peers who complete high school or college.8 Women who drop out of high school are more likely to become pregnant and give birth at a young age, and are more likely to become single parents.9

Table EA 1.4 shows the event dropout rate for students in grades 10 through 12, ages 15 to 24. Event dropout rates measure the proportion of students enrolled in grades 10 through 12 in the last year, who were not enrolled and who had not completed high school in the year the data are reported. From 1980 to 1990, dropout rates fell from 6 percent to 4 percent. The event dropout rate in 1994 was 5 percent. While this rate appears higher than rates in previous years, the observed difference may be due to changes in Census methodology.

Differences by Race and Ethnicity.10 In 1994, event dropout rates were 10 percent for Hispanics, 7 percent for blacks, and 4 percent for whites (see Figure EA 1.4). Dropout rates for blacks and whites were lower in 1994 than they were in 1975.
 
 

Figure EA 1.4 
Event Dropout Rate for Grades 10-12 (Ages 15-24), by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: 1975-1994 
 

EA1_4.GIF

Note: The event dropout rate is the proportion of students enrolled in grades 10 through 12 in the previous year who were not enrolled and not graduated in the present year. Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey, unpublished tabulations; and U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Dropout Rates in the United States:1994.
 

Table EA 1.4
Event Dropout Ratea (Percent) for Grades 10-12 (Ages 15-24), by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: 1975-1994
 

 
 
 
 
1975 
1980 
1985 
1990b 
1991b 
1992b,c 
1993b,c 
1994b,c,d 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 
White, non-Hispanic
 
 
Total
 
 
Male
 
 
Female
 
Black, non-Hispanic
 
 
Total
 
 
Male
 
 
Female
 
Hispanic
 
 
Total
11 
12 
10 
10 
 
 
Male
10 
18 
10 
 
 
Female
12 
10 
11 
 
Notes: aThe event dropout rate is the proportion of students enrolled in grades 10 through 12 in the previous year who were not enrolled and not graduated in the present year. 
bNumbers for these years reflect new editing procedures instituted by the Bureau of the Census for cases with missing data on school enrollment items. 
cNumbers for these years reflect new wording of the educational attainment item in the Current Population Survey (CPS). 
dNumbers in this year may reflect changes in CPS due to newly instituted computer assisted interviewing and/or due to the change in the population controls used this year to the 1990 Census-based estimates, with adjustments for undercount. 

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey, unpublished tabulations; and U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Dropout Rates in the United States: 1993, 1994.

 

8 See McMillen, Marilyn and Phillip Kaufman. 1996. Dropout rates in the United States: 1994. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

9 McMillen et. al. 1996; Manlove, Jennifer. 1996. "Breaking the cycle of disadvantage: Ties between educational attainments, dropping out and teenage motherhood." under review.

10 Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races.
 

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