Keep up to date with the latest news
High School Statistics - featured image

26 Educational High School Statistics for 2020

Each year a large volume of education statistics become widely available to the public through the National Center for Education Statistics and the Census Bureau. 

With numerous aspects of the academic journey recorded, we are going to take a look at the latest high school statistics and try to help you wade through some of the information out there. 


Total public elementary and secondary enrollment is expected to see a rise to 51.4 million between 2019 and 2028 according to the NCES. This number includes 35.6 million students up till the 8th grade and 15.1 million students in grades 9 through 12.

What’s more:

There are 98,300 public schools spread over 13,600 school districts nationwide. 

But how many high schools are there in the U.S

Here’s the scoop:

Currently, the number of high schools sits at around 21,300. 

Let’s take a look at some of the data collected regarding graduation rates, attendance, dropout rates, stress levels, sports, and even romance.

Stunning High School Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Up to 94% of students reached graduation in some states.
  • 84.6% of students are expected to graduate from high school this year in the US.
  • Over 7 million students missed at least three weeks of school every year.
  • 4.7% of students leave high school before graduation.
  • 50% of students report feeling heightened levels of stress.
  • 71% of teenagers in the tenth-grade report not dating at all.
  • Participation in high school sports declined in 2019 for the first time in 30 years.

High School Graduation Rates in the United States

1. 84.6% of students are expected to graduate from high school this year in the US.


Even if the number of those going into high schools has not seen a significant change in the last ten years, the number of those completing their studies successfully has been steadily on the rise. 

The changes in overall enrollment were not significant since 2007, but high school student statistics show the numbers of people graduating from high school are now higher. 

The national high school graduation rate in 2018 was 84.6%, while the average state graduation rates for 2017. ranged from 72% to 94% from state to state, according to information collected by 16,404 schools in 2019.

Check this out:

The Hispanic population is the demographic segment where the increase is most visible. It experienced a rise in graduation numbers from 67.4% in 2007 to 82% by 2017.

2. 72% is the lowest state-level percentage of students to graduate.


The lowest graduation rate with only 72% of students finishing high school was recorded in Arizona and New Mexico. 

About 3.7 million students are expected to graduate from high school during the 2019–20 school year, including 3.3 million students from public schools and 0.3 million from private schools.

3. 91% is the highest percentage of high school graduates recorded per year so far.

(NCES; Brookings)

High school students statistics provided by NCES also offer an insight into what states have the highest high school graduation rates.  Iowa, New Jersey, and Tennessee hold the top three positions with 91% of their students reaching graduation. 

Recent steady increases in numbers have sparked questions and reports about districts and schools lowering the bar to make their graduation rates higher. 

This also raises the following questions: 

Has the high school graduation rate increased in reality? And are students, in fact, better prepared for getting through high school with success, or were there ways in which the system managed to help them graduate?

4. 69.1% of high school graduates went to college in 2018.


The percentage of high school graduates who go to college by year fluctuates between 66.7% and 70% over the last decade and currently sits at 69.1%. 

5. 100% average graduation rate was not reached in any state.

Some individual schools, however, have reached that number for the class of 2017. The highest number of schools with a 100% graduation rate was recorded in Texas, followed by North Carolina. Seven states recorded no high schools that hit the 100% mark.

6. Most high school students graduate at the average high school graduation age of 18.


While the numbers may vary slightly due to the birth months and academic success, most graduates are between 17 and 19 years.

High School Statistics - graduation

High School Attendance Statistics

7. 20% of students are chronically absent from classrooms.

(Department of Education)

High school attendance statistics based on data drawn from almost all public schools show a trend named “chronic absenteeism” where a pupil misses over 15 days at school in a year. Overall, education statistics show that more than 20% of students in high school are chronically absent compared with lower rates in middle and elementary schools.

8. 16% of all students will spend two weeks a year at home. 

(Department of Education)

When it comes to gender, high school statistics say male and female students are similarly likely to be chronically absent. The likelihood of chronic absenteeism increases from the time one progresses into high school, with elementary school rates significantly lower at 14%.

9. 30% of students in over 800 districts have been reported to miss over three weeks of school. 

(Department of Education)

The highest absence rates have been recorded in districts in Washington, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, and Montana. Irregular attendance can determine whether a student might drop out of school with greater precision than test results. It suggests a seven-fold increase in dropout likelihood for even one year of chronic absence.

High school students statistics show over seven million students missed at least three weeks of school in recent years.

High School Dropout Statistics

10. 4.7% of students dropped out of high school in 2017-2018.


What causes high school dropouts? The reasons presented by The National Dropout Prevention Center can be placed in three categories – “push,” “pull,” or “falling out” factors.

11. 48.7% of students state push factors as the reason for not finishing high school.

(NDPC – National Dropout Prevention Center)

Most of these cases reported these causes of dropping out: 

  • Missing too many school days 
  • Getting poor grades 
  • Not being able to keep up with the homework 
  • Not getting along with others
  • Not getting along with teachers
  • Suspended
  • Did not feel safe
  • Expelled

12. 36.9% of students left school for reasons classified as pull factors.


The reasons for dropping out due to pull factors were: 

  • Thinking it would be easier to get GED
  • Pregnancy
  • Getting a job
  • The need to support the family
  • Getting a job
  • Getting married
  • Not being able to work at the same time
  • Becoming a parent

13. According to high school education statistics, 14.3% report leaving before graduation for reasons considered as induced by fall factors. 


These reasons include:

  • Not liking school 
  • Not feeling they belong there
  • Changing school and failing to adapt

14. 70% of dropout students would choose finishing school if they could do things all over again.  

(Trade Schools)

How many high school dropouts become successful? 

While headlines are often full of success stories of high school dropouts, in reality, they are few and far between. 

If success is measured by average income, the question is a rather simple one. 

The thing is:

A high school dropout earns on average $19,000 a year, while a high school graduate makes $28,000. Going further, a college graduate makes $51,000 a year. Over the years, a college graduate will make nearly $1 million more than a high school graduate. 

Stress Levels Statistics in High School Students

15. 50% of students report feeling heightened levels of stress. 

(Penn Foster; The Atlantic)

Let’s look at the effects of stress on high school students. High school students’ statistics show that during the course of their education, about half of the total student body has reported being stressed about their academic or social success. 

What’s more:

High school trends show stress leads to decreased sleep quality, leaving students unable to perform at peak levels, more prone to anxiety and depression, and easily agitated. 

In turn, that leads to the second major consequence of elevated stress levels in teenagers, which is anger. So, stress is one of the underlying causes of high school bullying.

The ability to focus is often heavily affected and might lead to poor grades/lower test scores, which then causes dropout rates to rise.

16. 25% of teenagers list homework and upcoming tests as a major cause of stress.

(Oxford Learning)

Homework and test score worries affect most students and are not exclusive to those struggling with making time or finding the motivation to study. High achievers are also prone to increased levels of anxiety as they put greater pressure on themselves to perform well. 

17. Overall, 30% of the time one spends in school is described as being stressed, anxious, or feeling stuck. 

(Oxford Learning; The Atlantic)

High school stats show that major stressors at first glance fall into two major categories – academic and personal. The lack of adequate support that should be available from teachers, staff, or parents leads to increased feelings of worry and fear in school children.

High School Statistics - stress

High School Sports Stats

18. 55.5% of all high school students played a sport in 2018.


According to research by the National Federation of State High School Association, involvement in high school sports dropped in 2018/19 for the first time in 30 years. The year 2017/18 saw a record high of participants while the last decline in sports participation occurred in 1988. 

Boys’ participation recorded a faster drop than girls’, and the percentage of participants who are girls in 2019 rose to 42.9% from 42.8% in 2018.

19. A 6.6% decline in high school football was recorded last year, making this the fifth year in a row with falling numbers.


High school stats show the combined number of male and female participants playing football at the high school level in the United States declined for the third consecutive year in 2019. The number of male participants dropped to around one million, but the number of female students engaging in football increased by 7.5%.

20. 70 different sports are available for high school students to participate in during 2019.


Aside from those, there are 14 adapted sports for students with disabilities. Some of the more popular non-traditional sports during the last year were bowling with 61,291 participants, weightlifting with 29,144, badminton with 18,162, flag football with 12,154, and archery with 10,391.  

21. 90% of student-athletes report some kind of sports-related injury.

(Weinstein Injury Law)

Almost 54% of the student-athletes report they have played while injured. It is not strange that 62% of injuries related to sport happen in practice since the time spent in practice largely surpasses the time spent competing. Still, 33% of parents don’t insist on the same precautionary measures that they do in official games.

A surprising fact is that 21% of brain trauma injuries in children in the US are associated with participation in sports and recreational activities.

High School Statistics - high school sport

Relationship Statistics in US High Schools

22. 35% of teenagers have reported having some kind of romantic experience. 

(Pew Research)

Meanwhile, 64% of teens say they have never been in a romantic relationship, and 1% declined to answer questions regarding their relationship status.

23. Only 2% of people marry their high school sweetheart, high school sweetheart statistics reveal.

(Pew Research; Rebel Circus)

Over the years, the change has come naturally, as the median age for marriage increased with time from 20 in the early sixties to 25 in the 1990s and now even higher. The number of those who met their partner before finishing college is slightly higher and stands at 14%.

24. 71% of students in the tenth-grade report not dating at all.

(Child Trends)

In 2017, more than two-thirds of eighth-grade students reported never dating, compared with the same answer given by 55% of tenth graders and nearly 49% of twelfth graders.

25. 49% of twelve graders report not dating frequently.

(Child Trends)

The number of students in the12th grade who say they are dating more than once a week has dropped from 33% to 14% in the years from 1976-2017. Understandably, high school statistics point out that these numbers go up with age considerably. In 2017, the numbers stand at 3 % of eighth-grade students, 7% of tenth-grade students, and 14% of twelfth-grade students who are dating someone.

26. Only 15% of students reported not dating back in 1992, compared to 49 % in 2017. 

(Child Trends)

For the same period statistics show the number of those who never dated in 10th grade went up from 28% to 55%, and the number of eighth-graders skyrocketed from 41% to 71%.


Q: How many students are stressed in high school?

Over 50% of students report feeling stressed in high school on a daily basis and nearly 45% of teenagers said they are stressed all the time.

A low number of only 12.18% of students stated that they are rarely stressed, and 6.3% of high school children are never stressed.

After homework and upcoming tests, high school stats showed relationships and teachers were the most frequent answers to what stresses them out the most, with a 27.22% rate of sweetheart problems and 24.55% teacher-related issues, followed by parents 13.46%, college 9.47%, and friends 4.21%.

Q: What causes high school dropouts?

Reasons for dropping out of school can be school, work, or family-related issues. 

School-related reasons include: 

  • 43.5% missing too many school days
  • 40.5% thinking it will be easier to get GED 
  • 38% getting poor grades/failing school
  • 36.6% not liking school 
  • 32.1% not being able to keep up with schoolwork 
  • 25% not getting along with teachers 
  • 16.9% being suspended 
  • 10% not feeling safe 

Family reasons include: 

  • 27.8% being pregnant
  • 20% having to support family  
  • 15.5% taking care of a family member  
  • 6.8% getting married 

27% reported getting a job and not being able to work at the same time as the reason to leave school. 

Q: Has the high school graduation rate increased?

The increase in high school graduation statistics has been visible over the last ten years and the number of those going out of high school and on time with success has been steadily on the rise. While total enrollment in high school has not significantly changed since 2007, the national on-time high school graduation rate is at an all-time high of 84.6%. 

3.7 million students are expected to graduate from high school in 2020. The sharp increase in some states and districts raises certain questions about calculation methods. But the overall high school trend shows constant improvement in graduation rates nationwide.

Q: What states have the highest high school graduation rates?

When broken down by state, Iowa has the highest graduation rate in the country. Based on data from the US Department of Education, Iowa, New Jersey, and Tennessee have the highest graduation rates, with Iowa at 91%. The rates are for the 2017 graduation cohort, which is made up of students who entered ninth grade in the 2013-2014 school year. 

New Jersey had the second-highest rate at 90.5%, while Tennessee had a high school graduation rate of 89.8%.

No state had a 100% average graduation rate, though individual schools reach that mark, especially in Texas and North Carolina. 

Q: How many high school dropouts become successful?

According to high school dropout statistics, nearly 70% of dropout students admit they would choose finishing school if they could do things all over again.

More than 1.3 million students drop out of high school every year in the US, making them ineligible for 90% of jobs in America. Yet the myth of a dropout entrepreneur appears to be stronger than ever. 

A high school dropout earns on average $19,000 a year. In the studies conducted on successful individuals from across the US, the vast majority had not only finished high school but had attended college, many of them elite schools. 

What Are Some of the Main Challenges High School Statistics Point to?

The vast amount of education statistics available on topics of graduation rates, dropout numbers, and stress levels pose plenty of questions on how to improve or reinvent the system in charge of 50 million students across the nation.

Let’s face:

The correlation between all factors is clear and visible both in numbers and student testimonials. Along with strong dropout prevention through the elimination of its root causes, it is crucial that the teachers are able to recognize the way stress affects teenagers and try to create a calm and supportive work environment.

In turn, this might lead to decreased dropout statistics. High school statistics will show an unquestionable rise in graduation rates. 

Bottom line:

Regular checks and counseling provided by the school administration, as well as involvement in mental health programs, will result in increased productivity and better academic success.  

Checking-in with students and directing them to counselors and mental health programs when necessary and educating families are also good ideas.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.