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53 Mindblowing High School Statistics

by Darko Jacimovic

If you are looking to see all the essential high school statistics, you’ve come to the right place. This article includes all the vital stats you need to know when it comes to US high schools. 

Furthermore, this comprehensive list also includes:

  • Crucial trends in American high schools
  • Statistics on both graduation and dropout rates
  • Numbers on stress levels in US high schools
  • Compelling information about high school relationships.

We hope that you’ll find these statistics interesting and useful. Let’s dive in by looking at some of our favorite stats we’ve discovered while compiling this list.

High School Stats (Editor’s Pick)

  • The adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for the school year 2016-17 was 85%, which is the highest since 2010-11.
  • Graduating from high school in 46 US states will not qualify you to attend a public college.
  • Around 45% of teens say they are stressed all the time.
  • In 2017, there were 2.1 million high school dropouts.
  • Around 59% of teens say that they have plans to attend a 4-year college after finishing high school.

Important High School Stats to Know

high school statistics - General stats

Let’s start with the most important stats you need to be aware of right now.

1. 4.1 million students across the US will begin high school in fall 2019. (NCES)

In addition, 3.7 million are expected to finish high school during the 2019-20 school year. Out of these, 3.3 million will be from public schools and around 300,000 from private schools

2. There are 21,287 public high schools in the US. (edweek)

The numbers include all high schools with grades above 7. Additionally, there are 2,527 junior high schools. When looking at US education statistics, these two are never counted together, but junior high schools do include schools with grades 7 and 8, or schools with grades 7, 8, and 9. These numbers come from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

3. The number one high school in the US News national ranking is Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, South Carolina. (US News)

US News has a comprehensive American high school ranking system, which includes data on more than 23,000 public high schools in the US. They ranked more than 17,000 schools on six different factors. 

The Academic Magnet High School is first in the rankings with a 100% graduation rate and 100 college readiness score. Its total enrollment at that point was 658 students, and the number of full-time teachers was 38. This, in turn, makes the student to teacher ratio 17:1.

4. The median high school teacher salary is $59,170. (US News)

US News high school statistics tell us that being a high school teacher might be an average salary, but it’s still the best education job in the country. Furthermore, the areas that offer the highest high school teacher salaries are Nassau County, New York ($101,110); Anchorage, Alaska ($92,210); Fairbanks, Alaska ($90,920); Kingston, New York ($87,910); and Bridgeport, Connecticut ($86,170).

5. Graduating from high school in 46 US states will not qualify you to attend a public college. (the74million)

This means that in most of the country, it’s not enough to simply graduate from high school to be able to attend a college. There are other requirements you have to fulfill, as well.

6. 2018 was the worst year to date when it comes to school shootings, with 24 shootings and 114 people killed or injured. (edweek)

We don’t have the exact statistics about high school students, but the overall numbers still paint a grim picture. There were 35 deaths in these shootings, 28 of which were students, while the other seven were employees or other adults. Additionally, 79 people were injured. What’s worse is that the 24 shootings were only the ones with victims. There was, on average, a shooting every week in 2018.

7. There is one college counselor per 491 students. (Americanprogress)

National education statistics shows that this nationwide number changes significantly when we look at specific schools. Low-income schools which have a high percentage of students of color have a single counselor for every 1,000 students. 

These high school statistics problems show us that low-income students and students of color have much less support when it comes to high school graduation and college entry requirements. Without the help they need, they are less likely to graduate and get into college. This, alongside college tuition increase, is just another problem we need to deal with if we want to have the same level of life success for all citizens of the US. 

High School Trends

high school statistics - Graduate

8. US families spend around $27.8 billion during the back to school season. (deloitte)

Naturally, this doesn’t mean that all of that money is spent on things high school students need, but they are certainly a big part of that. Parents’ statements show that out of these $27.8 billion, $20 billion go to their children. That said, these numbers are undoubtedly relevant when it comes to the current back to school trends for 2019

Additionally, of that money, $15 billion goes to clothing and accessories, $6.1 billion to school supplies, $3.6 billion to electronic gadgets like phones and wearables, and $3.1 billion to computers and other similar hardware

9. 55% of the average family budget for school goes to clothing. (Deloitte)

We established that US families spend a lot of money during the back to school season, but it seems that more than half of their budget goes to clothes.

10. The most popular fashion brands in high schools at the moment are Birkenstocks, Nike, Champion, and Supreme. (collegexpress)

High school students always seem to have their own fashion trends. Most of the time, these go in line with what their favorite role models are wearing. It appears that these four brands are among the most notable high school student trends in 2019

11. The average spending per child for the back to school season is $519. (Deloitte)

When we take a look at this number and the previous figures for the total spending parents have, we can make some additional deductions. On average, out of these $519, around $280 will be spent on clothes and $114 on school supplies. 

This shows that parents need to spend significantly more money on clothes than things that are actually for school. The differences are unlikely to change much in the near future.

12. The current high school trends in spending show that parents will soon spend a total of $800 million more on mobile phones, wearables, and voice and data plans for their children. (Deloitte)

We bet that most of those millions will end up in Apple’s pockets! Not necessarily, of course, but it’s the most likely scenario

13. The most popular app among high school students and other teenagers is still Snapchat. (Statista)

Approximately 41% of teens use Snapchat, while 35% use Instagram. Facebook is not a popular app among teens, according to the 2019 high school trends, with only 6% of teens using the app. 

Only seven years ago, Facebook was the most popular app among teens, with a staggering 42% of them using it, while Snapchat and Instagram had far fewer users. Who knows how this will develop in the near future if some other platform rises in popularity among teens (TikTok maybe?)

14. 85% of teachers think that virtual reality will have a positive impact on students. (EdTech)

While an overwhelming number of teachers believe that VR can be useful, we can’t say that we can see this among the latest high school trends. Only 2% of teachers have stated that they are actively using virtual reality features in their classrooms, which is basically non-existent. 

Furthermore, 83% of teachers say that virtual reality can improve learning outcomes. We hope that the near future will bring more VR into classrooms, omitting children under the age of 13, which are not recommended to use VR headsets.

High School Stress Statistics

high school statistics - Stress

15. Around 45% of teens say they are stressed all the time. (globenewswire)

It seems that adults are no longer the only ones who feel stressed all the time. According to a survey from 2018, almost half of all high school students think they are always stressed. The most common causes of this are relationships and teachers. What’s worse, only 6% of teens stated that they are never stressed, and some 12% stated that they are rarely stressed. 

According to the same high school stress statistics for 2018, most teens (22.5%) say that they turn to friends when they need someone to talk to about their problems with stress.

16. Around 44% of teenagers say that apps and other online resources are their most common source of help when they feel stressed. (globenewswire)

On the other side, only 2.5% say that they use resources available at school for coping with stress. Thankfully, only 10% say that they tend to turn to alcohol or drugs for help. Additionally, one-third of them say that they do nothing at all to deal with their stress, which is not healthy either.

These numbers are alarming, especially when you consider the leading causes of stress in high school students we mentioned in the previous stat. The causes are usually school-related, but the solution is rarely in the same place.

17. Female students tend to feel far more stressed out than male students, with the ratio being 60 to 40%. (NYU)

Girls tend to be a bit better at school than boys, but these numbers tell a different story. The most common reasons why high school girls feel more stressed are usually school-related. They include grades, preparing for college, and the always dreaded homework. 

Bear in mind that these are not the latest high school stress statistics for 2019, but they are still close with the data being only a few years old. If the school system does not see any upgrade soon, the numbers are unlikely to be much different in the near future

18. Most teens see anxiety and depression as the most significant problem among their peers. (pewsocialtrends)

According to 70% of teens aged 13-17, anxiety and depression are major problems among their generation. However, there are many more problems with their peers. For example, 55% of them consider bullying to be a major problem, and drug addiction is not far with 51%. 

These teenage stress statistics from 2018 were compiled in the sense that teens had to ‘grade’ each problem by saying if it’s major, minor, or not a problem at all.

19. 61% of teens feel they are pressured to get good grades. (pewsocialtrends)

Good grades are important, but they are not worth it if teenagers constantly feel stressed. Additionally, in comparison, 29% of teens say they feel pressured to look good, and 28% say the same about fitting in socially. The good thing here is that only 6% feel pressure to drink alcohol, and only 4% feel pushed to use drugs. 

It seems that teenage stress statistics for 2019 and beyond need some improvement, as many of these numbers should be far lower

20. Only around 15% of high school students get enough sleep every night. (pennfoster)

Stress can lead to a lot of things, and besides the lack of sleep, high school students are also more likely to get angry and get worse grades because of stress. These are undoubtedly effects and factors that need to be prevented in the future. It is worrying that these three are certainly the main effects of stress on high school students.

21. Boredom seems to be a bigger problem than stress, with 40% of teens saying they feel bored every day, while 29% say they are tense and nervous on a daily basis. (pewsocialtrends)

These two sentiments top the list of experiences high school students feel every day. Besides these two, other problems include wishing for more good friends, getting excited about studies, getting in trouble at school, and more. On the other side of the spectrum, around 40% say that they never get in trouble at school, while only 6% say that they do get in trouble every day.

22. 61% of boys are more likely to put money first later in life, compared to 41% of girls. (pewsocialtrends)

Latest high school stress statistics from the Pew Research Center tell us that boys and girls have similar aspirations. However, one thing where they do differ is money. Boys are far more likely to prioritize money in the future than girls, as the stats clearly show. 

Other aspirations are relatively the same with both genders — having a job or a career and helping those in need.

High School Relationship Statistics

high school statistics - Student

23. High school students who get married young have a 54% chance of their marriage lasting 10 years. (brandongaille)

Having a high school sweetheart for a long time is certainly a nice feeling, but the numbers tell us that they don’t last forever. Naturally, it doesn’t mean that everyone needs to give up on marrying their high school sweetheart, but it’s good to know the odds of that marriage succeeding.

24. High school students who wait to become 25 to get married have a 78% chance of their marriage lasting for at least 10 years. (brandongaille)

The previous high school relationships statistics about marriage weren’t so great, but this one changes things. A 78% marriage success rate is more than excellent and should encourage teenagers to wait to get married until they get a bit older. If you need more proof, take a look at our next stat.

25. Couples who marry at the age of 25 are 50% less likely to get divorced, compared to couples who marry only five years earlier. (mensdivorce)

Additional statistics of high school sweethearts staying together clearly show us that it’s better for couples to wait only a couple of years. In this case, if they are 20 years old, they only need to wait for five years and they’ll have a 50% better chance of staying together.

26. Only 19% of those who marry their high school sweetheart actually attend college. (brandongaille)

Additionally, only 2% of high school students who marry their sweetheart obtain a college degree. When you take a closer look at these numbers, it seems that the movies showing high school students who married their highschool sweetheart and never attend a college are based on true stories

27. 14% of all couples today have met in school. (brandongaille)

Sometimes high school relationship facts don’t seem good, but this one is an entirely different story. In our opinion, 14% is more than amazing and shows that high school sweetheart can mean a lot, even after high school.

28. Barely 2% of all marriages are to a high school sweetheart. (brandongaille)

Many parents are afraid that their children will get married too young, and some of the previous stats might point out that their fears are justified. However, when we take a look at these vital high school relationship statistics, it seems that a tiny percentage of the US population actually ends up marrying their high school sweetheart.

29. Over the past 30 years, all marriages (including those with high school sweetheart) have seen a sizeable decline in divorce rates. (Insider)

The national divorce rate has been steadily dropping since the 1990s. At that point, it was around four divorces per 1,000 people. By 2010 it dropped to 3.6 and by 2017 to 2.9. The trend is also very likely to continue in a similar fashion. 

A similar thing can be said about high school students, but as we’ve seen from the previous high school sweetheart marriage divorce rate, it’s certainly worse than the average national level.

30. Mormon high school sweethearts are more likely to divorce within the first three years of marriage. However, they are also more likely to stay together if their relationship survives the first three years. (brandongaille)

These numbers are much different than all other demographic groups because Mormons tend to marry much earlier than others. There are no significant differences among other groups, so they are not worth mentioning.

High School Dropout Statistics

high school statistics - Classroom

31. One of six children who doesn’t learn to read proficiently by the third grade won’t graduate high school on time. (aecf)

By contrast, the rate is four times lower for proficient readers. What’s more, when we look at below-basic readers, 23% of them are likely to drop out of high schools. The same stats are different for basic readers (9%) and proficient readers (4%). 

In the end, below-basic readers constitute three-fifths of all high school dropouts. Bad reading seems to be one of the most prominent high school dropout reasons.

32. One in five high school students is chronically absent. (ed.gov)

Chronically absent students are those who miss more than 15 days of school per year. Also, these numbers are the worst out of all types of schools in the US which have far less chronic absentees among the students

33. In 2017, there were 2.1 million high school dropouts. (nces)

The 2.1 million people mean that the exact high school dropout rate is 5.4%. Naturally, the dropout rate varies among ethnicities, with the highest rate being among American Indians/Alaska natives with 10.1% and the lowest among Asians with only 2.1%. The dropout rates among other ethnicities are Hispanics with 8.2%, Blacks with 6.5%, Whites 4.3%, and Pacific Islanders with 3.9%. 

It’s also important to note that the overall dropout rate was as much as 9.7% in 2006. Despite what some folks from the older generations might think, kids are getting smarter and better at school!

34. The latest high school dropout rates by gender are 5.4% for males and 4.1% for females. (NCES)

The numbers are from 2016, and they cover a wide range of the young population – people aged 15-24. It’s worth mentioning that the difference in the numbers is as low and statistically insignificant as it has been the case for the last 40 years. The differences are only noticeable within the African-American community, where the dropout rates are 8.2% for males and 4.3 for females.

35. On average, a high school dropout will have a salary that’s $10,000 lower than that of a high school graduate. (theclassroom)

In addition to that, their annual salary will be around $36,000 lower than that of the people who have a bachelor’s degree. If you were ever wondering what happens to high school dropouts, now you know!

36. Students experiencing homelessness at some point are 87% more likely to drop out of high school. (americaspromise)

If that number wasn’t bad already, consider the fact that former high school students without a diploma are 4.5 times more likely to experience homelessness later in their lives. That makes it vital for the education system to start worrying more about this and invest more to overcome poverty problems

37. The latest high school dropout rates by state show that they are the lowest in North Dakota (2.7%) and highest in Louisiana (8.7%). (nces)

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the highest dropout rates are concentrated in the South and the West of the country. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have dropout rates that are significantly lower than the national average. Most other states are reasonably close to the average rates with all differences being insignificant from a statistical point of view.

38. 80% of all men in federal and state prisons are high school dropouts. (spotlight)

The latest high school dropouts and crime statistics clearly show that there is a direct correlation between crime and the lack of high school education. It gets worse with specific ethnicities. An African-American male high school dropout has an almost 70% chance to end up in prison by their mid-30s

39. Juvenile incarceration decreases a person’s chance of finishing high school by 13%. (spotlight)

In addition to that, young incarcerated people are 15% more likely to end up in prison again in the future for a violent crime.

40. Low-income students are 2.4 times more likely to end up as high school dropouts than middle-income students. (spotlight)

These high school dropout statistics also show that low-income students have 10 times higher chances of dropping out of high school than high-income students. However, this is nothing compared to the fact that high school students with disabilities often don’t finish school, with 36% of them end up being dropouts. 

All in all, it’s unfortunate that high school graduation seems to be a ubiquitous thing only among those with better financial stability.

41. If the high school graduation rate were to increase by 5% among males, the country would save $18.5 billion in annual crime costs. (spotlight)

These high school dropout statistics from 2018 show that investing in education can save expenses related to crimes and many other factors, making these investments worthwhile. $18.5 billion is not a small number, especially when you consider the fact that the US spends some $80 billion on corrections expenditures on all levels of the country (local, state, and federal). 

In the 1980s, that number was only at around $17 billion, which is less than what we could save today by increasing the high school graduation rates of the nation.

High School Graduation Statistics

high school statistics - Field

42. Low-income students have a 21% higher chance of graduating from high school. (chalkbeat)

Low-income students also have slightly higher scores on standardized tests. They seem to be somewhat better in most metrics when compared to other students. So if you feel like you have fewer chances of graduating than other kids with more money, understand that the statistics show otherwise.

43. The adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for the school year 2016-17 was 85%, which is the highest since 2010-11. (NCES)

The high school graduation rates currently stand at 85%, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The same data shows that Asia/Pacific Islander students have the highest ACGR of 91%. The following ethnicities are White with 89%, Hispanic with 80%, Black with 78%, and American Indian/Alaska natives with 72%

44. The increase in the graduation rate shows that around 3 million more students have graduated than dropping out of high school in the period between 2002 and 2016. (americaspromise)

When we look at all high school graduation statistics for the last two decades, we can see that there is a total of 3 million more students who graduated instead of dropping out. That’s three million more future success stories. The best thing about this is the fact that much of the increase stems from increased graduation rates among students of color

45. The average graduation rate in Washington D.C. was only 59% in 2018. (Washington Post)

That same number was as high as 73% for 2017. The massive dip in graduation rates is explained by the 2018 investigation, which showed that one in three graduates receive their diplomas even though they miss too many of their classes. The high school graduation rates for 2018 will hopefully paint a better picture of the city.

46. The total number of big, low-graduation-rate schools has declined from 2,000 in 2002 to 793 in 2016. (americaspromise)

These bigger schools include schools of 300 or more students. Even though the number of low-graduation-schools has dropped significantly, they still remain a problem in several states

47. Only two states had an ACGR rate of over 90% for the school year 2016-17 —  Iowa and New Jersey — both with 91%. (NCES)

When looking at statistics for high schools in each of the states in the US, only Iowa and New Jersey have very high graduation rates. On the other side of the spectrum is New Mexico, with the lowest ACGR of 71%. A total of 40 states have rates of 80-90%.

48. Students with disabilities consistently graduate at much lower rates than their peers, with the current national rate being 67.1%. (americanpromise)

Thankfully, between 2011 and 2017, the graduation rate of students with disabilities has jumped by 8.1% in total. Despite the rise, a total of 14 states have seen their students with disabilities graduation rates decline recently.

49. Around 59% of teens say that they have plans to attend a 4-year college after finishing high school. (pewsocialtrends)

The number is not bad at all. However, there is a disparity between boys and girls, making high school graduation rates by gender something to ponder about. More girls have plans about going to college (68%), and the same is less accurate for boys (51%). 

A similar thing is true for the later life periods when these plans come to fruition. Girls who finish high schools and plan on enrolling into college are more likely to accomplish that goal, with 64% of them actually enrolling to a college. The rate for boys is only 55%.

50. The total number of high school graduates is projected to be 2% higher for the school year 2021-22 than it was in 2008-9. (NCES)

The number is from the NCES high school graduation rates statistics, so we can expect it to be the case in 2022. What’s interesting is that the same projections say there will be a decrease in the number of private school graduates

51. Reaching the goal of a 90% graduation rate by 2020 would require additional 199,466 students graduating on time. (americaspromise)

Even though significant progress has been made, as you can see from the previous stats, the US is still unlikely to reach this number by 2020. It becomes an even tougher goal to reach once you consider that a large portion of these students would have to be low-income ones as well as Black and Hispanic students.

52. 68% of states have recently improved their graduation rates. (americaspromise)

The latest high school students statistics from America’s Promise Alliance tell us that these schools have also been able to improve at least two of their measures of academic success. Unfortunately, almost one-third of the states failed to achieve this. Hopefully, this will change in the coming years as the graduation rate continues to rise.

53. A 90% of high school graduation rate for a single cohort of students would mean that the US would get a $3.1 billion increase in annual earnings. (Graduationeffect)

Among several notable high school statistics improvements, the country would also see a rise of $5.7 billion in GDP and some 14,260 new jobs on a yearly growth rate. All in all, a 90% graduation rate for high schools would be an excellent thing for the entire country.

The Bottom Line

high school statistics - Hallway

There you have it — a comprehensive list of stats you need to know when it comes to American high schools and their students.

We hope that you’ve learned something new here and that some of these high school statistics will help you make good choices in your future.


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