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ERIC Number: ED569943
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Oct
Pages: 96
Abstractor: ERIC
Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2013. Compendium Report. NCES 2016-117
McFarland, Joel; Stark, Patrick; Cui, Jiashan
National Center for Education Statistics
Dropping out of high school is related to a number of negative outcomes. For example, the median income of persons ages 18 through 67 who had not completed high school was roughly $26,000 in 2013. By comparison, the median income of persons ages 18 through 67 who completed their education with at least a high school credential (i.e., a regular credential or an alternative high school credential such as a General Educational Development [GED] certificate) was approximately $46,000. Over a person's lifetime, this translates to a loss of approximately $680,000 in income for a person who did not have a high school credential compared to a person who had at least a high school credential (Rouse 2007). Among adults age 25 and older, the percentage of dropouts who are in the labor force is lower than the percentage of high school credential earners who are in the labor force. Similarly, among adults in the labor force, the percentage of dropouts who are unemployed is higher than the percentage of high school credential earners who are unemployed (U.S. Department of Labor 2014). In addition, dropouts age 25 and older reported being in worse health than adults who are not dropouts, regardless of income (Pleis, Ward, and Lucas 2010). Dropouts also make up disproportionately higher percentages of the nation's institutionalized population. In a comparison of those who drop out of high school and those who complete high school, the average high school dropout costs the economy approximately $260,000 over his or her lifetime in terms of lower tax contributions, higher reliance on Medicaid and Medicare, higher rates of criminal activity, and higher reliance on welfare (Levin and Belfield 2007). This report builds upon a series of National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports on high school dropout and completion rates that began in 1988. It presents estimates of rates in 2013, provides data on long-term trends in dropout and completion rates, and examines the characteristics of high school dropouts and completers. Five rates are presented to provide a broad perspective on high school dropouts and completers in the United States: the event dropout rate, the status dropout rate, the status completion rate, the adjusted cohort graduation rate, and the averaged freshman graduation rate. Each rate contributes unique information. Information about individuals who pass the GED exam is provided to place the different rates into context relative to this widely used alternative high school credential. The following are appended: (1) Technical Notes; and (2) Glossary.
National Center for Education Statistics. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; High School Equivalency Programs; Adult Education; Grade 9; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Education Statistics (ED); American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Identifiers - Location: United States
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: EDIES12D0002