The Racial Gap in High School Graduation Rates in the 50 States

graduation_cap_and_diploma-2091Last month, a JBHE post reported that the racial gap in high school graduation rates remains large but has been narrowing in recent years. Nationwide, the Black student high school graduation rate in 2013-14 was 72.5 percent. Since the 2010-11 academic year the Black-White gap in high school graduation rates has declined from 17 percentage points to 14.8 percentage points.

There are wide disparities in the racial gap in high school graduation rates in the 50 states. The highest Black student high school graduation rate in 2014 was in Texas. There, 84.2 percent of Black students earned their high school diploma. The White student high school graduation rate in Texas that year was 93 percent. Other states with high school graduation rates for Blacks above 80 percent include Alabama, Delaware, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, and New Hampshire.

The state with the lowest high school graduation rate for Blacks is Nevada. There, the high school graduation rate of Black students was only 53.9 percent. The District of Columbia and Minnesota had the second and third lowest graduation rates for Black high school students.

As stated above, nationwide the Black high school graduation rate was 14.8 percentage points lower than the average rate for Whites. But in some states the racial gap is much smaller. For example, in Alabama the Black high school graduation rate of 83.8 percent is only four percentage points below the rate for White students. In contrast the racial gap in high school graduation rates is 20 percentage points or more in California, New York, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

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