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In New York State, the annual dropout rate refers to the proportion of students in grades 9 through 12 who left school prior to graduation for any reason, except death, and did not enter another school or high school equivalency preparation program. Annual high school dropout percents are calculated by dividing the number of students who drop out during a single year by the enrollment in grades 9 through 12 (including the portion of any ungraded secondary enrollment for that year that can be attributed to grades 9 through 12), and multiplying by 100.


Beyond its inherent message of failure for students who drop out, young people who do not complete high school are at a great disadvantage in today's society. Dropouts have far higher unemployment rates than high school graduates. When employed, they earn less, are more likely to be in semi-skilled manual jobs and work at jobs with poorer working conditions. The social, economic and personal costs include foregone tax revenues, decreased productivity, increased demand for and reliance on social services, increased probability of criminal activity, reduced political participation, and generally poorer health.


  • In 2014/15, the statewide reported public high school dropout rate was 2.9 percent, similar to that of 2009/2010 (2.7%). 
  • New York City public high school students who dropped out of schools in 2014/15 accounted for 55 percent of the total state public high school dropout counts in this period. Four out of five New York City boroughs remained among the top ten counties of the highest dropout rates.
  • Outside New York City, the counties with the highest public high school dropout rates in 2014/15 were respectively Chemung (4.6%), Fulton (4.3%), Schenectady (4.2%), Montgomery (4.0%), Oswego (3.6%), and Clinton (3.4%).
  • The counties with the lowest public high school dropout rates were: Putnam, Nassau, and Allegany all with 1 percent.  


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