Study shows dropouts are a drain on the community


A new report, “The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School,” was released this week by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

It tells Minnesotans what we already know: High school dropouts are a financial and social drag on society.

Hindsight is the official blog of Minnesota 2020. Hindsight gives the run down on the news that jumps out at us on the issues that matter.

Here are some of the results listed in the report:

  • About 54 percent of high school dropouts were unemployed in 2008.

  • The mean annual earnings for dropouts in 2007 were only $8,358, well below the average of $15,149 for all young adults.

  • The share of women between 16 and 24 who were mothers varied from a low of 3.5 percent among high school students, to nearly 38 percent among high school dropouts.

  • During 2006-2007, 1.4 percent of the nation’s 16-24 year olds (men and women combined) were institutionalized in correctional facilities. Only 1 in 1,000 bachelor degree holders were institutionalized versus 6.3 percent of high school dropouts lacking a GED certificate.

  • The report authors write that “the average high school dropout will have a negative net fiscal contribution to society of nearly -$5,200 while the average high school graduate generates a positive lifetime net fiscal contribution of $287,000. The average high school dropout will cost taxpayers over $292,000 in lower tax revenues, higher cash and in-kind transfer costs, and imposed incarceration costs relative to an average high school graduate.”

Minnesota has a relatively high graduation rate. Let’s make sure we don’t slip and maybe even improve.