US Dropout Rate Declines as Hispanics Improve

According to recent data from the US Census Bureau, more students are staying in school.

The data reports that only 7% of the nation's 18-to-24-year-olds had dropped out of high school last year. That statistic has been dropping each year since 2000, when 12% of the nation's youth were tagged as dropouts.

The decline is mainly due to the decrease in Hispanic and black youths dropping out, as the number of non-Hispanic whites dropping out has not seen a drastic reduction. Hispanics still see the highest dropout rate, but the number has been reduced to 14% in comparison to the 32% in 2000.

The data also suggests that Hispanic education is seeing new attainment levels. Not only are less Hispanics dropping out, more are graduating high school and going on to college. Hispanics now account for 18% of all college enrollment, a rise from 12% seen in 2009.

One reason more Hispanics may be staying in school is the decrease in job opportunities for less-educated people that came with the Great Recession, which caused more people to see the value of a college degree. Education has been an important issue in the Hispanic community for a long time. In many Pew Research surveys, education is listed highly as a concern among Hispanics, along with health care and immigration.

At the same time that the Hispanic dropout rate is decreasing, the number of Hispanic youth in the nation are increasing. In 2000, the number of Hispanic dropouts reached 1.5 million. By 2013, that number had dropped to 889,000, despite a 50% population growth. The dropout number in the Hispanic community has not been less than 900,000 since 1987.

The Census Bureau has also shown that 79% of Hispanic youth had graduated high school last year, in comparison with only 60% graduating in 2000. Graduation rates are on the rise with all other racial groups as well, as though not as significantly.

Hispanics accounted for 25% of the public school population in 2013. That number is expected to rise to 30% by 2022.

Despite this, Hispanic youth still lag behind their peers in attainment of bachelor degrees. They account for only 9% of all bachelor degrees from two and four-year programs, while their white peers account for 58% of college students aged 18 to 24, and 69% of all bachelor degrees.

The dropout rate for black students dropped significantly by almost half, from 15% in 2000 to an all-time low of 8% in 2013. The black student population accounts for 16% of all public school students. That percentage is expected to fall to 15% by 2022.

The number of non-Hispanic white students dropping out has dropped to 5% this year.

Asian students still maintain the lowest dropout rate at 4%.

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