Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante (CRIFPE)

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Cui, J., McFarland, J. & Wang, X. (2020). Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States : 2019. Washington, DC, USA : National Center for Education Statistics.




Dropping out of high school is related to a number of negative outcomes. According to data from the Census Bureau’s 2017 Current Population Survey (CPS), the median earnings of adults ages 25 through 34 who worked full time, year round and who had not completed high school were lower than the earnings of those with higher levels of educational attainment. For example, median earnings for full-time workers ages 25 through 34 who had not completed high school ($26,000) were lower than those of workers whose highest education level was high school completion ($32,000), an associate’s degree ($39,000), or a bachelor’s or higher degree ($55,000). Among 25- to 34-year-olds in the labor force, the unemployment rate for high school dropouts (13 percent) was higher than the unemployment rate of those whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school credential (7 percent). In addition, dropouts age 25 and older were reported being in worse health than adults who were not dropouts, regardless of income (Pleis, Ward, and Lucas 2010). Dropouts also make up disproportionately higher percentages of the nation’s institutionalized population than of the nation’s noninstitutionalized population.3 Relative to individuals who complete high school, the average high school dropout costs the economy approximately $272,000 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).4 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 provides the most recent year of data available for each of the dropout and completion rates, summarizes longterm trends, 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. 


Logos des universités associées au CRIFPE

Adresse civique

Université de Montréal
Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation
90, avenue Vincent d'Indy
Pavillon Marie-Victorin – C-536
Outremont (Québec) H2V 2S9

Adresse postale

Université de Montréal
Faculté des Sciences de l'Éducation
CRIFPE – C-543
C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville
Montréal (Québec) H3C 3J7