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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.
Note: Income categories are classified by quartiles. The lowest quartile income is defined as the bottom 25% of family incomes for the year, the middle low quartile is between 25% and 50% of all family incomes, the middle high quartile is between 50 and 75%, and the highest quartile is the top 25% of all family incomes.
"Status" dropouts are 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and who have not completed a high school program, regardless of when they left school. People who have received GED credentials are counted as high school completers. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in prisons, persons in the military, and other persons not living in households.

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  • The status dropout rate was far lower (2.8%) for youth living in families with incomes in the top one-fourth of all families than for youth living in families with incomes in the bottom one-fourth of all family incomes (11.6%).
  • Between 1975 and 2016, the dropout rate declined 66% for youth from the lowest income families, 59% for youth from the middle-low income families, 47% for youth from the middle-high income families and 47% for youth from the highest income families.
  • Despite the decline in dropouts for youth of all family income types, the disparity in dropout rates between youth from the lowest income and highest income families have remained relatively constant. Between 1975 and 2016, the dropout rate for youth living in the lowest income families was on average more than six times the rate for youth living in the highest income families.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/population/qa01504.asp?qaDate=2016. Released on March 27, 2018.

Data Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics. [Table 219.75 located at https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_219.75.asp].


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