College Enrollment and Work Activity of High School Graduates News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 27, 2010              USDL-10-0533

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                       COLLEGE ENROLLMENT AND WORK ACTIVITY OF
                              2009 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES


In October 2009, 70.1 percent of 2009 high school graduates were enrolled in
colleges or universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
This was a historical high for the series, which began in 1959. Recent high
school graduates not enrolled in college in October 2009 were more likely than
enrolled graduates to be in the labor force (70.0 compared with 42.1 percent).

Information on school enrollment and work activity is collected monthly in the
Current Population Survey (CPS), a nationwide survey of about 60,000 households
that provides information on employment and unemployment. Each October, a sup-
plement to the CPS gathers more detailed information on full-time and part-time
school enrollment status, level of education, and enrollment status a year ear-
lier. Additional information about the October supplement is included in the
Technical Note.

Recent High School Graduates and Dropouts

Of the 2.9 million youth age 16 to 24 who graduated from high school in January
through October 2009, 2.1 million (70.1 percent) were enrolled in college in
October 2009. The college enrollment rate of recent high school graduates has
been trending up; in October 2008, 68.6 percent of recent high school graduates
were enrolled in college. For 2009 graduates, the college enrollment rate was
73.8 percent for young women and 66.0 percent for young men. The college en-
rollment rate of 2009 Asian graduates (92.2 percent) was higher than for recent
white (69.2 percent), black (68.7 percent), and Hispanic (59.3 percent) grad-
uates. (See table 1.)

The labor force participation rate (the proportion of the population working or
looking for work) for recent high school graduates enrolled in college was 42.1
percent. The participation rates for male and female graduates enrolled in col-
lege were about the same (40.8 percent and 43.2 percent, respectively).

Among recent high school graduates enrolled in college in October 2009, 91.6 per-
cent were full-time students. Recent graduates enrolled as full-time students
were about half as likely to be in the labor force (38.7 percent) than their
peers enrolled part time (79.3 percent).

About 6 in 10 recent high school graduates who were enrolled in college attended
4-year institutions. Of these students, 30.9 percent participated in the labor
force, compared with 59.2 percent of recent graduates enrolled in 2-year col-
leges. Recent high school graduates not enrolled in college in the fall of 2009
were more likely than enrolled graduates to be in the labor force (70.0 compared
with 42.1 percent). The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates not
enrolled in school was 35.0 percent, compared with 23.7 percent for graduates
enrolled in college.

Between October 2008 and October 2009, 383,000 young people dropped out of high
school. The labor force participation rate for recent dropouts (48.5 percent)
was lower than for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college (70.0
percent). The jobless rate for recent high school dropouts was 55.1 percent,
compared with 35.0 percent for high school graduates not enrolled in college.

All Youth Enrolled in High School or College

In October 2009, 58.1 percent of the nation's 16- to 24-year-olds, or 21.9 mil-
lion young people, either were enrolled in high school (9.6 million) or in col-
lege (12.2 million). The labor force participation rate of youth enrolled in
school fell from 42.0 to 38.5 percent from October 2008 to October 2009, and
the unemployment rate rose from 11.9 to 15.6 percent. (See table 2.)

In October 2009, college students continued to be more likely to participate in
the labor force than high school students (51.4 compared with 22.1 percent).
About 87 percent of college students were enrolled full time. Those attending
full time had much lower labor force participation rates than part-time students.
Female college students were more likely to be in the labor force (54.8 percent)
than their male counterparts (47.4 percent).

The unemployment rate for high school students, at 25.8 percent in October 2009,
was about twice the rate for college students (12.2 percent). Unemployment rates
for black (46.9 percent) and Hispanic (40.4 percent) high school students con-
tinued to be higher than for white students (22.6 percent).

All Youth Not Enrolled in School

In October 2009, 15.8 million persons age 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school.
The labor force participation rate of youth not enrolled in school fell from 
79.9 percent in October 2008 to 78.4 percent in October 2009. Among youth not
enrolled in school in October 2009, men continued to be more likely than women
to participate in the labor force--83.8 compared with 72.3 percent. Labor force
participation rates for not-enrolled men and women were highest for college grad-
uates and lowest for those with less than a high school diploma. (See table 2.)

The unemployment rate for not-enrolled youth age 16 to 24 rose from 14.2 percent
in October 2008 to 20.3 percent in October 2009. Among the educational attainment
categories, unemployment rates for youth not in school were highest for those
without a high school diploma--31.8 percent for young men and 31.0 percent for
young women in October 2009. In contrast, the jobless rates for young male and
female college graduates were 13.6 and 6.5 percent, respectively. Black youth
not enrolled in school had an unemployment rate of 33.0 percent in October 2009,
higher than the rates for their white (17.9 percent), Asian (20.0 percent), and
Hispanic (23.1 percent) counterparts.




Technical Note


   The estimates in this release were obtained from a supplement to the
October 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of about
60,000 households that provides information on the labor force, employ-
ment, and unemployment for the nation.  The survey is conducted monthly
for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau. Data in
this release relate to the school enrollment status of persons 16 to 24
years of age in the civilian noninstitutional population in the calendar
week that includes the 12th of October.  Updated population controls for
the Current Population Survey are introduced annually with the release of
January data.  Additional information about population controls is avail-
able on the BLS Web site at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#pop.

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired
individuals upon request.  Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Ser-
vice: (800) 877-8339.
   
Reliability of the estimates

   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling
error.  When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there
is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from the "true" population
values they represent.  The exact difference, or sampling error, varies de-
pending on the particular sample selected, and this variability is measured
by the standard error of the estimate.  There is about a 90-percent chance,
or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will differ by
no more than 1.6 standard errors from the "true" population value because
of sampling error.  BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent
level of confidence.
   
   The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error.  Nonsampling error
can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of
the population, inability to obtain information for all respondents in the
sample, inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct infor-
mation, and errors made in the collection or processing of the data.

   A full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and information
on estimating standard errors is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.
htm#reliability.

Concepts

   The principal concepts used in connection with the school enrollment ser-
ies are described briefly below.

   School enrollment.  Respondents were asked whether they were currently en-
rolled in a regular school, including day or night school in any type of pub-
lic, parochial, or other private school.  Regular schooling is that which may
advance a person toward a high school diploma or a college, university, or 
professional degree.  Such schools include elementary schools, junior or se-
nior high schools, and colleges and universities.

   Other schooling, including trade schools; on-the-job training; and courses
that do not require physical presence in school, such as correspondence courses
or other courses of independent study, is included only if the credits granted
count towards promotion in regular school.

   Full-time and part-time enrollment in college.  College students are clas-
sified as attending full time if they were taking 12 hours of classes or more
(or 9 hours of graduate classes) during an average school week and as part
time if they were taking fewer hours.

   High school graduation status.  Persons who were not enrolled in school at
the time of the survey were asked whether they had graduated from high school.
Those who had graduated were asked when they completed their high school edu-
cation.  Persons who had not graduated, that is, school dropouts, were asked
when they last attended a regular school.  Those who were enrolled in college
at the time of the survey also were asked when they graduated from high school.

   Recent high school graduates.  Persons who completed high school in the
calendar year of the survey (January through October) are recent high school
graduates.

   Recent high school dropouts.  Persons who were not enrolled in school at
the time of the survey, attended school a year earlier, and did not have a high
school diploma are recent dropouts.




Table 1.  Labor force status of 2009 high school graduates and 2008-09 high school dropouts 16 to 24 years old by school enrollment,
educational attainment, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, October 2009

(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                                        
                                                                               Civilian labor force                                     
                                                                                                                                        
                                           Civilian                                                                             Not in  
             Characteristic               noninsti-                                  Employed               Unemployed          labor   
                                           tutional               Percent of                                                    force   
                                          population    Total     population                                                            
                                                                                Total     Percent of    Number       Rate               
                                                                                          population                                    
                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                        
Total, 2009 high school graduates (1)...     2,937       1,482        50.5       1,062        36.1         421        28.4       1,455  
                                                                                                                                        
 Men....................................     1,407         724        51.5         513        36.5         211        29.1         683  
 Women..................................     1,531         758        49.5         549        35.8         210        27.7         772  
                                                                                                                                        
 White..................................     2,281       1,204        52.8         894        39.2         310        25.8       1,077  
 Black or African American..............       425         174        41.0         102        24.0          72        41.3         251  
 Asian..................................       115          42        36.7          28        24.0          15       (2)            73  
 Hispanic or Latino ethnicity...........       459         215        46.9         146        31.9          69        31.9         243  
                                                                                                                                        
 Enrolled in college....................     2,058         867        42.1         662        32.1         205        23.7       1,192  
                                                                                                                                        
  Enrolled in 2-year college............       813         482        59.2         357        43.9         125        25.9         332  
  Enrolled in 4-year college............     1,245         385        30.9         305        24.5          80        20.8         860  
                                                                                                                                        
  Full-time students....................     1,885         729        38.7         558        29.6         172        23.5       1,156  
  Part-time students....................       173         137        79.3         104        60.1          33        24.2          36  
                                                                                                                                        
  Men...................................       928         379        40.8         294        31.7          84        22.2         550  
  Women.................................     1,130         488        43.2         367        32.5         121        24.8         642  
                                                                                                                                        
  White.................................     1,579         689        43.6         540        34.2         148        21.5         890  
  Black or African American.............       292          99        33.8          68        23.3          31        31.0         193  
  Asian.................................       106          37        35.1          25        24.0          12         (2)          69  
  Hispanic or Latino ethnicity..........       272         106        39.0          81        29.9          25        23.2         166  
                                                                                                                                        
 Not enrolled in college................       879         616        70.0         400        45.5         216        35.0         263  
                                                                                                                                        
  Men...................................       478         345        72.2         219        45.7         127        36.7         133  
  Women.................................       401         270        67.4         181        45.2          89        32.9         130  
                                                                                                                                        
  White.................................       702         516        73.4         354        50.4         162        31.4         187  
  Black or African American.............       133          75        56.6          34        25.6          41        54.8          58  
  Asian.................................         9           5         (2)           2         (2)           3         (2)           4  
  Hispanic or Latino ethnicity..........       186         109        58.5          65        34.9          44        40.4          77  
                                                                                                                                        
Total, 2008-09 high school dropouts (3)        383         186        48.5          83        21.8         103        55.1         198  
                                                                                                                                        
 Men....................................       205         125        60.9          56        27.5          69        54.9          80  
 Women..................................       179          61        34.2          27        15.2          34         (2)         117  
                                                                                                                                        
 White..................................       276         147        53.4          76        27.4          72        48.7         129  
 Black or African American..............        80          33        41.6           4         4.8          30         (2)          47  
 Asian..................................         5           1         (2)           1         (2)          -           -            4  
 Hispanic or Latino ethnicity...........       115          52        45.1          20        17.2          32       (2)            63  

   1 Data refer to persons who graduated from high school in January through October 2009.
   2 Data not shown where base is less than 75,000.
   3 Data refer to persons who dropped out of school between October 2008 and October 2009.
   NOTE: Detail for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not pre-
sented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Because of rounding, sums of indi-
vidual items may not equal totals. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data. Dash represents
or rounds to zero.




Table 2.  Labor force status of persons 16 to 24 years old by school enrollment, educational attainment, sex, race, and Hispanic or
Latino ethnicity, October 2009

(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                                        
                                                                               Civilian labor force                                     
                                                                                                                                        
                                           Civilian                                                                             Not in  
             Characteristic               noninsti-                                  Employed               Unemployed          labor   
                                           tutional               Percent of                                                    force   
                                          population    Total     population                                                            
                                                                                Total     Percent of    Number       Rate               
                                                                                          population                                    
                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                        
Total, 16 to 24 years...................    37,616      20,764        55.2      16,945        45.0       3,820        18.4      16,851  
                                                                                                                                        
 Enrolled in school.....................    21,854       8,411        38.5       7,098        32.5       1,314        15.6      13,443  
                                                                                                                                        
  Enrolled in high school (1)...........     9,612       2,125        22.1       1,576        16.4         548        25.8       7,488  
                                                                                                                                        
   Men..................................     4,965       1,055        21.3         760        15.3         295        28.0       3,910  
   Women................................     4,647       1,069        23.0         817        17.6         253        23.6       3,578  
                                                                                                                                        
   White................................     7,225       1,757        24.3       1,359        18.8         398        22.6       5,468  
   Black or African American............     1,608         266        16.5         141         8.8         125        46.9       1,342  
   Asian................................       335          30         8.9          21         6.3           9         (2)         305  
   Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.........     1,805         314        17.4         187        10.4         127        40.4       1,491  
                                                                                                                                        
  Enrolled in college...................    12,242       6,287        51.4       5,521        45.1         766        12.2       5,955  
                                                                                                                                        
   Enrolled in 2-year college...........     3,512       2,129        60.6       1,772        50.4         358        16.8       1,383  
   Enrolled in 4-year college...........     8,729       4,158        47.6       3,750        43.0         408         9.8       4,571  
                                                                                                                                        
   Full-time students...................    10,680       4,967        46.5       4,331        40.6         635        12.8       5,713  
   Part-time students...................     1,562       1,320        84.5       1,190        76.2         130         9.9         242  
                                                                                                                                        
   Men..................................     5,710       2,707        47.4       2,286        40.0         421        15.5       3,003  
   Women................................     6,531       3,579        54.8       3,235        49.5         345         9.6       2,952  
                                                                                                                                        
   White................................     9,461       5,145        54.4       4,569        48.3         576        11.2       4,316  
   Black or African American............     1,630         680        41.7         562        34.5         119        17.4         949  
   Asian................................       777         254        32.8         229        29.5          25         9.9         522  
   Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.........     1,501         792        52.8         690        46.0         102        12.9         709  
                                                                                                                                        
 Not enrolled in school.................    15,762      12,353        78.4       9,847        62.5       2,506        20.3       3,409  
  16 to 19 years........................     3,134       2,067        65.9       1,357        43.3         710        34.4       1,068  
  20 to 24 years........................    12,627      10,286        81.5       8,491        67.2       1,796        17.5       2,341  
                                                                                                                                        
  Men...................................     8,274       6,937        83.8       5,341        64.6       1,596        23.0       1,337  
   Less than a high school diploma......     1,731       1,267        73.2         864        49.9         403        31.8         464  
   High school graduates, no college (3)     3,870       3,193        82.5       2,400        62.0         793        24.8         677  
   Some college or associate degree.....     1,784       1,610        90.3       1,328        74.5         282        17.5         174  
   Bachelor's degree and higher (4).....       890         867        97.4         749        84.1         118        13.6          23  
                                                                                                                                        
  Women.................................     7,488       5,416        72.3       4,506        60.2         910        16.8       2,072  
   Less than a high school diploma......     1,299         644        49.6         444        34.2         200        31.0         655  
   High school graduates, no college(3)      3,125       2,147        68.7       1,671        53.5         476        22.2         978  
   Some college or associate degree.....     1,894       1,539        81.2       1,374        72.6         164        10.7         356  
   Bachelor's degree and higher (4).....     1,170       1,087        92.9       1,017        86.9          70         6.5          83  
                                                                                                                                        
  White.................................    12,330       9,913        80.4       8,140        66.0       1,773        17.9       2,417  
  Black or African American.............     2,438       1,679        68.9       1,126        46.2         553        33.0         759  
  Asian.................................       348         280        80.5         224        64.4          56        20.0          68  
  Hispanic or Latino ethnicity..........     3,503       2,631        75.1       2,023        57.7         608        23.1         872  

   1 Includes a small number of persons enrolled in grades below high school.
   2 Data not shown where base is less than 75,000.
   3 Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
   4 Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.
   NOTE: Detail for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not pre-
sented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Because of rounding, sums of indi-
vidual items may not equal totals. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.




Last Modified Date: April 27, 2010