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Juvenile Population Characteristics
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Juvenile Population Characteristics
Q: Does the high school dropout rate vary by family income?
A: The dropout rate is greater among youth from low-income families than for all other family types.
Percent of youth who dropped out of grades 10-12 in the preceding 12 months by family income, 1975-2009

Note: Low income is defined as the bottom 20% of family incomes for the year, middle is between 20% and 80% of all family incomes, and high is the top 20% of all family incomes.

[ Text only ]  [ Excel file ]

  • The dropout rate was far lower (1.4%) for youth living in families with incomes in the top one-fifth of all families than for youth living in families with incomes in the bottom one-fifth of all family incomes (7.4%).
  • Between 1975 and 2009, the dropout rate declined by 53% for youth from low-income families, 43% for youth from middle-income families, and 46% for youth from high-income families.
  • Despite the decline in dropouts for youth of all family income types, the disparity in dropout rates between youth from low-income and high-income families have remained relatively constant. Between 1975 and 2009, the dropout rate for youth living in low-income families was on average more than six times the rate for youth living in high-income families.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/population/qa01504.asp?qaDate=2009. Released on March 05, 2012.

Data Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972-2009. [Report no. 2012-006]. [PDF]. Washington, D.C.: 2011.


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