Tracking the Gender Gap in High School Dropout Rates

Dept_of_Education_LogoThe United States Department of Education recently released data on trends in dropout rates at high schools in the United States. According to the latest data, in 2012, 3.6 percent of the male students enrolled in high school that year dropped out without receiving their diploma. For females, the figure was 3.3 percent.

This so-called “event dropout rate” has been on the decline for both boys and girls. Twenty years ago in 1995, 6.2 percent of male high school students dropped out that year compared to 5.3 percent of female high school students.

The “status dropout rate” is defined as the percentage of people ages 16 through 24 who are no longer enrolled in school and do not have a high school diploma or GED. Here the gender gap is larger. Using this statistic we find that in 2012, 7.3 percent of males ages 16 to 24 were not in school and did not have a high school graduation credential. For women, the comparable figure is 5.9 percent.

The good news is that the status dropout rate for both men and women has shown a steady decline since 1995. That year, 12.2 percent of men ages 16 through 24 were no longer enrolled in school and did not have a high school diploma or GED. For women the status dropout rate was 11.7 percent.

The full report, Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972-2012, can be downloaded here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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