High School Completion Rates

Status completion rates measure the percentage of a given population that has a high school credential, regardless of when the credential was earned. In 2001, 86.5% of 18- through 24-year-olds not enrolled in elementary or secondary school had completed high school. Status completion rates increased from 82.8% in 1972 to 85.6% in 1990. Since 1991, the rate has shown no consistent trend and has fluctuated between 84.8% and 86.5%. High school status completion rates for white and black young adults increased between the early 1970s and 1990 but has remained relatively the same since 1990. Specifically, status completion rates for white students increased from 86.0% in 1972 to 89.6% in 1990. Since 1990, white completion rates have remained in the range of 89.4-91.8%. In 2001, 91.0% of white and 85.6% of black 18- through 24-year-olds had completed high school. The percentage of black students completing high school rose from 72.1% in 1972 to 85.6% in 2001. The gap between black and white completion rates narrowed between 1972 and 2001. In 2001, 65.7% of all Hispanic 18- through 24-year- olds completed high school. This percentage compares to 91.0% of whites, 85.6% of blacks, and 96.1% of Asians/Pacific Islanders. Essentially, in 2001, whites and Asians/Pacific Islanders were more likely than their black and Hispanic peers to have completed high school. Also, whites completed high school at a higher rate than both blacks and Hispanic students. Black students completed high school at a higher rate than Hispanics.

The four-year completion rate is the percentage of 9th-grade students who left school over a subsequent 4-year period while also completing a high school credential. Data for the 4-year completion rate calculations are taken from the Common Core of Data (CCD). The 4-year completion rate calculation is dependent on the availability of dropout estimates over a 4-year span, and current counts of completers. Because dropout rate information was missing for many states during the 4-year period considered by the US Department of Education, 4- year completion rate estimates for the 2000-01 school year are only available for 39 states. Since data were not available from all states, an overall national rate could not be calculated. However, among reporting states, the high school 4-year completion rates for public school students ranged from a high of 90.1% in North Dakota to a low of 65.0% in Louisiana.