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States where high schoolers are least likely to graduate

  • States where high schoolers are least likely to graduate

    High school isn’t all football games, homecoming dances, and cafeteria hangouts with friends. For many students, it’s a socially and academically demanding time filled with stressful exams, mean bullies, emotional breakups, and embarrassing moments. Anyone who has ever been a teenager can remember the roller-coaster ride of emotions endured during adolescence, so one can almost understand why a frustrated student might joke about dropping out. That’s not even considering the other pressures like domestic violence, family emergencies, and teenage pregnancy that might cause someone to give up their studies.

    How many students don’t finish high school? Not as many as you might expect. Nationwide, the high school graduation rate is 84%. Using state-by-state data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Stacker ranked 49 of the 50 states by the percentage of public high school students who graduated on time in the 20152016 school year. Alabama did not meet the NCES reporting standards, so it has been omitted from this list. Read on to see what percentage of high schoolers in your state graduated on time, and find out why parents of teenagers might want to make a move to Iowa.

    ALSO: Best public high school in every state

  • #49. Iowa

    Graduation rate: 91%

    Enrollment in Iowa’s public schools has been climbing for the past six years and shows no sign of slowing down. Iowa also has the highest high school graduation rate in the country at a whopping 91%.  


  • #48. New Jersey

    Graduation rate: 90%

    90% of New Jersey high school students graduate in four years, and just 1.2% drop out of high school altogether. That’s pretty impressive considering that 1.37 million students are enrolled in New Jersey public schools.


  • #47. West Virginia

    Graduation rate: 90%

    More than 17,600 students graduated from West Virginia public schools in 2013—that’s 90% of the students enrolled.


  • #46. Kentucky

    Graduation rate: 89%

    In 2016, 656,588 students were enrolled in Kentucky public schools. Not only do 89% of students graduate high school in four years, but 92.5% of all students go on to attend college, enter vocational or technical schools, sign up for the military, or find a job.  


  • #45. Missouri

    Graduation rate: 89%

    A full 89% of Missouri high school students graduate high school, but how many go on to earn a college degree? A recent report from the Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education revealed that only 48.9% of students who graduated from Missouri public high schools and entered a two- or four-year college in 2011 had completed a degree by 2017.


  • #44. Nebraska

    Graduation rate: 89%

    Students at Nebraska’s 101 public schools are among the most likely to graduate in the nation. A full 89% receive their degree in four years, making Nebraska the sixth best state for high school graduation rates.


  • #43. Tennessee

    Graduation rate: 89%

    Tennessee’s graduation rate—89.1%—is the highest it’s ever been. More than 56% of high school districts saw their rates improve year over year in 2018.  


  • #42. Texas

    Graduation rate: 89%

    With a student population of 5.1 million, Texas has more public school students than some states have residents. Interestingly, half of these students are educated in just four of the state’s school districts.


  • #41. Maryland

    Graduation rate: 88%

    In 2017, Maryland had a high school attendance rate of 91.3%. Students’ top-notch attendance also led to a stellar graduation rate.  


  • #40. Massachusetts

    Graduation rate: 88%

    In the 2016–2017 school year, only 1.8% of Massachusetts high school students dropped out. The dropout rate has been steadily decreasing since the 2006–2007 school year, when it was 3.8%.  


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