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Show Me the Numbers

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

In my last blog, I alluded to the damage of high school dropout to personal well-being and the economy as a whole. Now let's take a look at some of the numbers:

Based on the NCES data ( shown above, one’s income level is directly correlated with their education level. Young adults who did not complete high school earned approximately 19% (or $6,000) less per year than those who did and almost 50% less than those who obtained a bachelor’s degree. In terms of employment, lower education means lower job prospects. Young adults without a high school diploma stay at the lowest employment spectrum with 59% compared to 86% for those who attained a bachelor’s or higher degree.

As to the impact on the economy, the average high school dropout costs the economy approximately $272,000 over his or her lifetime in terms of lower tax contributions, higher reliance on Medicaid and Medicare, higher rates of criminal activity, and higher reliance on welfare. (

Another measure provided by Alliance For Excellent Education quantifies the impact as follows: an increase in high school graduation rate from 83.2% (2015 adjusted cohort graduation rate) to 90% would add $5.7 billion to GDP, $504 million in federal tax revenue, $16.1 billion savings on health care and $2.5 billion in spending. These numbers may be small in the grand scheme of things, but every little bit helps.

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