The Condition of Education 2012

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Most indicators in The Condition of Education summarize data from surveys conducted by NCES or by the Census Bureau with support from NCES.

The categories denoting race and ethnicity in The Condition of Education are in accordance with the 1997 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standard classification scheme. These classifications are based primarily on the respondent’s self-identification, as is the case with data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, or, in rare instances, on observer identification. Under the OMB standards, race and ethnicity are considered separate concepts. “Hispanic or Latino” is an ethnicity category, not a race category.


Ethnicity is categorized as follows: ■ Hispanic or Latino: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.


  • Between 1990 and 2010, status dropout rates declined for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. Over this period, the status dropout rate was generally lowest for Asians/Pacific Islanders, followed by Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics (indicator 33).

A Closer Look at High School Students in the United States Over the Last 20 Years

  • In 2010–11, public school enrollment in grades 9–12 was 56 percent White, 17 percent Black, 20 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native. By 2019–20, it is projected that public high school enrollment will be 53 percent White, 16 percent Black, 23 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Asian, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native.


  • The status dropout rate represents the percentage of

16- through 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential (either a diploma or an equivalency credential such as a General Educational Development [GED] certificate).

  • Based on the Current Population Survey (CPS), the status dropout rate declined from 12 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2010 (see indicator 33)
  • Between 1990 and 2010, status dropout rates also declined for Whites (from 9 percent

to 5 percent), Blacks (from 13 percent to 8 percent), and Hispanics (from 32 percent to 15 percent).

  • The gap between Whites and Hispanics narrowed from 23 percentage points in 1990 to 10 percentage points in 2010;
  • In each year shown, higher percentages of 12th-graders whose parents had more education planned to graduate from college when compared with their peers whose parents had less education. For example, in 2010, some 78 percent of 12th-graders whose parents had a graduate or professional degree planned to graduate from college, compared with 46 percent of 12th-graders whose parents had completed a high school education or less.


Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools

  • Between 1990 and 2010, the percentage of public school students who were White decreased from 67 to 54 percent, and the percentage of those who were Hispanic increased from 12 percent (5.1 million students) to 23 percent (12.1 million students).
  • From 1990 through 2010, the number of White students in U.S. public schools decreased from 29.0 million to 27.7 million, and their share of enrollment decreased from 67 to 54 percent. In contrast, Hispanic enrollment during this period increased from 5.1 to 12.1 million students, and the percentage of public school students who were Hispanic increased from 12 to 23 percent.
  • The number of Hispanic students increased in all four regions as did their share of enrollment.
  • Hispanic students had the largest share of public school enrollment in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.


Status Dropout Rates

Between 1990 and 2010, status dropout rates declined for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. Over this period, the status dropout rate was generally lowest for Asians/ Pacific Islanders, followed by Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics.


  • Based on the CPS, the status dropout rate declined from 12 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2010 (see table A-33-1). Between 1990 and 2010, status dropout rates also declined for Whites (from 9 percent to 5 percent), Blacks (from 13 percent to 8 percent), and Hispanics (from 32 percent to 15 percent).