The Dropout CrisisNationwide, nearly one‐third of high school students fail to graduate. In total, approximately 1.3
million students drop out each year — averaging 7,200 every school day. Among minority students,
the problem is even more severe with almost 50 percent of African-American and Hispanic students
not completing high school on schedule.
Experts say that dropping out of high school affects not just students and their families, but also the
country overall — including businesses, government and communities. The Alliance for Excellent
Education estimates that high school dropouts from the class of 2006-07 will cost the U.S. more
than $329 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes. Experts also say that
those who drop out are more likely to be incarcerated, rely on public programs and social services
and go without health insurance than youth who graduate from high school.
In summary, high school dropouts are:
- Less likely to have a job or earn less, on average, than high school graduates;
- Less likely to have health insurance than those with more education and more likely to depend on Medicaid or Medicare for their coverage;
- More likely to depend on public assistance; and
- More likely to be incarcerated. 2
2 Social and Fiscal Consequences of the Dropout Crisis. (Updated, 2009). Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University.