By: 
Nov 15, 2012

The 2012 High School Dropouts in America survey, conducted by Harris/Decima on behalf of Everest College, lists reasons younger Americans dropout of high school. The national survey of 513 adults ages 19 to 35 found that nearly a quarter of Americans cited the absence of parental support or encouragement as a reason for not completing high school, followed by 21 percent who said they became a parent. Other factors that led to students dropping out were missing too many days of school, failing classes, uninteresting classes, and suffering from a mental illness, such as depression.

Other factors that led to students dropping out were missing too many days of school (17 percent), failing classes (15 percent), uninteresting classes (15 percent) and suffering from a mental illness (15 percent) such as depression. The survey also found that women are three times more likely than men, 27 percent versus 9 percent, to leave high school because they became a parent. When it came to the issue of bullying, white respondents, more than any other racial group, cited bullying (14 percent) as a reason for dropping out.

Nationwide, about 7,000 students drop out every school day, amounting to approximately 1.3 million students each year, according to advocacy group Alliance for Excellent Education. In 1970, the United States had the world's highest rate of high school graduation. Today, the U.S. has slipped to No. 21 in high school completion, according to theĀ Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

"The data from this survey is an important step in deepening our understanding of America's high school dropout problem," said survey spokesman John Swartz, regional director of career services at Everest College. "Americans without a high school diploma or GED test credential face tremendous challenges. This is why we need to continue putting our dropout crisis under the microscope and develop substantive solutions going forward."

More than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents had not considered a GED credential or had looked into it but had yet to pursue entering the program. Time and money were the top two reasons for not seeking a GED credential. According to the survey, 34 percent cited time as a prohibitive factor, while 26 percent said associated costs was a reason for not looking into or obtaining their GED credential. Women were more likely than men to say it costs too much (30 percent vs. 18 percent).

A third of the high school dropouts surveyed said they were employed either full time, part time or were self-employed. Men were more likely than women to say they are unemployed (38 percent vs. 26 percent). Among those who are employed, nearly half (46 percent) said they have little to no prospects for advancement in their current position.

Industries and occupations related to health care, personal care and social assistance, and construction are projected to have the fastest job growth between 2010 and 2020, according to a February 2012 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industries with the largest projected wage and salary employment growth (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecopro.pdf) between 2010 and 2020 include:

  • Offices of health practitioners
  • Hospitals
  • Home health-care services
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Computer system design and related services

By the Numbers: 2012 High School Dropouts in America Fast Facts

  • Those living in the West were more likely to say they lacked the credits needed to graduate (29 percent), while those in the East and South were more likely to say they were bullied and did not want to return (16 percent)
  • One third (34 percent) of those unemployed were more likely to say that a GED program costs too much money
  • Six in 10 (59 percent) who work full-time said they do not have the time to pursue a GED

Everest College's 2012 High School Dropouts in America survey was conducted online using the Harris Interactive online panel (HPOL) between Oct.3-Oct.18, 2012 among 513 U.S. adults ages 19 to 35 who did not complete high school. Results were weighted for age, sex, and geographic region to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

Everest College is part of Corinthian Colleges, Inc., one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America. Its mission is to prepare students for careers in demand or for advancement in their chosen field. Harris Interactive is a custom market research firm leveraging research, technology and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods.