Drop Out Rates

What factors cause students to drop-out of school


1. Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone.

2. About 25% of high school freshmen fail to graduate from high school on time.

3. The U.S., which had some of the highest graduation rates of any developed country, now ranks 22nd out of 27 developed countries.

4. The dropout rate has fallen from 12.1% in 1990 to 7.4% in 2010.

5. The percentage of graduating Latino students has significantly increased. In 2010, 71.4% received their diploma vs. 61.4% in 2006.

6. A high school dropout will earn an average of $200,000 less than a high school graduate over his or her lifetime.

7. Almost 2,000 high schools across the U.S. graduate less than 60% of their students.

8. These “dropout factories” account for over 50% of the students who leave school every year.

9. 1 in 3 minority students (32%) attend a dropout factory, compared to 8% of white students.

10. In the U.S., high school dropouts commit about 75% of crimes.

Despite dropping out being associated with adverse effects on future employment opportunities and lower income dropout rates among Hispanic and African American students is still high compared to their white and Asian counterparts. There are many factors that drive up dropout rates among high school students including high rates of absenteeism, low levels of school engagement, low parental education, work or family responsibilities, problematic or deviant behavior, moving to a new school in the ninth grade, and attending a school with lower achievement scores. There are many factors that attribute to these causes, most of them being family obligations, or low levels of education among close family members. The dropout rate among students whose parents have not completed high school is 27% higher than that of students whose parents have completed high school.

My experience

I have had some experiences with high school dropouts. I went to a small private high school with a graduating class that was about one-third Latino. My junior year of high school a very close friend Jorge lost his father in a car accident. Being the oldest boy of all his siblings he dropped out of school and went to work at his family’s auto shop. At the time I was very frustrated because I couldn’t understand why he felt the need to stop perusing his education, since I knew he was aware that high school graduates make more money than those who haven’t completed high school. He had to explain to me that he was doing what he thought was best in order for his little sisters to continue going to their private elementary school. To this day I still get frustrated when I think about it, but when I take into account his cultural background I understand it a little better. He was the eldest boy and he had to step up in order to provide for his family. In addition to the cultural differences, he also had a job waiting for him regardless of whether or not he had a high school diploma or GED. For me, growing up in an upper middle class white family this was completely unfamiliar, and still is if I’m being honest. I talk to him occasionally, and he’s doing well, but never went back to get his GED or diploma after leaving school.