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Latino Students Instrumental In Record Low Dropout Rates

The nation's record low number of high school dropouts is driven in part by significantly less Latino as well as African American dropouts.
Image: Graduating students listen to U.S. President Obama speak during commencement at the University of Michigan
File photo of graduating students at the University of Michigan listening as President Barack Obama delivers commencement speech. KEVIN LAMARQUE / Reuters

The nation saw its lowest high school dropout numbers last year, and this is being driven in large part by the steep decline in dropout numbers among Latino as well as African American students, according to a Pew Research report based on Census data.

The Hispanic dropout rate reached a record low of 14 percent in 2013, compared with 32 percent in 2000. The drop is significant since it is happening at the same time that the number of Hispanic students have increased by 50 percent. So though Latinos still have higher dropout rates than other groups, more of them are graduating from high school and enrolling in college.

In 2013, 79 percent of Latino students had finished high school, compared to 60 percent in 2000. They also accounted for 18 percent of new college students, compared to 12 percent in 2000.

Where Latinos are still lagging is in college completion - Hispanics are only 9 percent of young adults (25 to 29) with a college degree, compared to 69 percent for non-Latino whites.

The high school dropout rate for blacks was also at record low of 8 percent in 2013, falling by nearly half since 2000, when it was 15 percent.


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--Sandra Lilley