College Enrollment and Work Activity of High School Graduates News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, April 28, 2016                       USDL-16-0822

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 2015 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES


In October 2015, 69.2 percent of 2015 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or
universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Recent high school
graduates not enrolled in college in October 2015 were about twice as likely as enrolled
graduates to be working or looking for work (72.7 percent compared with 36.0 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 supplement to the CPS
gathers more detailed information about school enrollment, such as full- and part-time
enrollment status. Additional information about the October supplement is included in
the Technical Note.

Recent High School Graduates and Dropouts

Of the 3.0 million youth age 16 to 24 who graduated from high school between January
and October 2015, about 2.1 million (69.2 percent) were enrolled in college in October.
The college enrollment rate of recent high school graduates in October 2015 was little
different from the rate in October 2014 (68.4 percent). For 2015 high school graduates,
the college enrollment rate was 72.6 percent for young women and 65.8 percent for young
men. The college enrollment rate of recent Asian (83.0 percent) graduates was higher
than for their White (71.1 percent), Hispanic (68.9 percent), and Black (54.6 percent)
counterparts. (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 36.0 percent in
October 2015. The participation rates for male and female graduates enrolled in college
were 37.9 percent and 34.3 percent, respectively.

Among recent high school graduates enrolled in college in October 2015, about 9 in 10
were full-time students. Recent graduates enrolled as full-time students were about half
as likely to be in the labor force (32.9 percent) as were their peers enrolled part time
(69.3 percent).

About 2 in 3 recent high school graduates enrolled in college attended 4-year colleges.
Of these students, 29.5 percent participated in the labor force, compared with 47.3
percent of recent graduates enrolled in 2-year colleges.

Recent high school graduates not enrolled in college in the fall of 2015 were much more
likely than enrolled graduates to be in the labor force (72.7 percent compared with 36.0
percent). The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college
was 20.7 percent, higher than the rate of 12.6 percent for recent graduates enrolled in
college.

Between October 2014 and October 2015, 521,000 young people dropped out of high school.
The labor force participation rate for recent dropouts (45.9 percent) was much lower
than for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college (72.7 percent). The
jobless rate for recent high school dropouts was 19.8 percent, similar to the rate for
recent high school graduates not enrolled in college (20.7 percent).

All Youth Enrolled in High School or College

In October 2015, 57.0 percent of the nation's 16- to -24 year olds, or 21.9 million
young people, were enrolled in high school (9.6 million) or in college (12.3 million).
The labor force participation rate (36.2 percent) of youth enrolled in school was down
from October 2014 to October 2015. The unemployment rate for this group (8.8 percent)
was also down over the year. (See table 2.)

In October 2015, college students continued to be more likely to participate in the
labor force than high school students (47.7 percent compared with 21.3 percent). Those
attending college full time had a much lower labor force participation rate than did
part-time students (42.5 percent versus 79.9 percent). For high school and college
students, Asians were less likely to participate in the labor force than Blacks, Whites,
or Hispanics. Female college students were more likely to be in the labor force (49.8
percent) than their male counterparts (45.4 percent). Labor force participation rates
for female and male high school students were similar (22.5 percent and 20.2 percent,
respectively).

The unemployment rate for high school students, at 14.6 percent in October 2015, was
more than twice the rate for college students (6.8 percent). Unemployment rates were
higher for high school students than for college students for Blacks, Whites, and
Hispanics. 

All Youth Not Enrolled in School

In October 2015, 16.5 million persons age 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school. The
labor force participation rate of youth not enrolled in school increased over the year
from 78.9 percent to 80.1 percent. Among youth not enrolled in school in October 2015,
young men continued to be more likely than young women to participate in the labor
force--84.1 percent compared with 75.7 percent. Labor force participation rates for
not-enrolled men and women were highest for those with a bachelor's degree or higher
(95.5 percent and 92.3 percent, respectively) and lowest for men and women with less
than a high school diploma (65.5 percent and 44.6 percent, respectively). (See table 2.)

The unemployment rate for youth age 16 to 24 not enrolled in school declined over the
year from 13.7 percent to 11.7 percent. Among not-enrolled youth who did not have a high
school diploma, unemployment rates in October 2015 were 27.0 percent for young men and
22.6 percent for young women. In contrast, the jobless rates of young men and women with
at least a bachelor's degree were 4.5 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively. Black youth
not enrolled in school had an unemployment rate of 21.6 percent in October 2015, higher
than the rates for their White (9.5 percent), Asian (6.5 percent), and Hispanic (12.8
percent) counterparts.




Technical Note

   The estimates in this release were obtained from a supplement to the October 2015
Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of about 60,000 eligible households
that provides information on the labor force, employment, 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 CPS are introduced
annually with the release of January data. Additional information about population
controls is available on the BLS website 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 Service: (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 component
of this difference that occurs because samples differ by chance is known as sampling error,
and variability is measured by the standard error, and 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 information, and errors made in the collection or
processing of the data.

   Additional information about the reliability of data from the CPS and estimating
standard errors is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

Concepts

   The principal concepts used in connection with the school enrollment series are described
briefly below.

   School enrollment. Respondents were asked whether they were currently enrolled in a
regular school, including day or night school in any type of public, 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 senior 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 classified 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 education. 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 2015 high school graduates and 2014-15 high school dropouts 16 to 24 years old by school enrollment, educational attainment, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, October 2015
[Numbers in thousands]
Characteristic Civilian
noninsti-
tutional
population
Civilian labor force Not in labor
force
Total Percent of
population
Employed Unemployed
Total Percent of
population
Number Rate

RECENT HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES

Total, 2015 high school graduates(1)

2,965 1,401 47.3 1,171 39.5 230 16.4 1,563

Men

1,448 742 51.2 628 43.4 114 15.3 706

Women

1,516 659 43.5 543 35.8 116 17.7 857

White

2,286 1,084 47.4 920 40.2 164 15.1 1,202

Black or African American

394 207 52.5 159 40.3 48 23.3 187

Asian

153 41 26.7 37 24.5 3 - 112

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

589 293 49.6 217 36.8 76 25.9 297

Enrolled in College

Total, enrolled in college

2,053 738 36.0 645 31.4 93 12.6 1,314

Enrolled in 2-year college

748 354 47.3 305 40.7 49 14.0 394

Enrolled in 4-year college

1,304 384 29.5 341 26.1 43 11.3 920

Full-time students

1,880 619 32.9 540 28.7 79 12.8 1,262

Part-time students

172 119 69.3 106 61.2 14 11.7 53

Men

953 361 37.9 302 31.7 59 16.3 592

Women

1,100 377 34.3 343 31.2 34 9.0 723

White

1,625 605 37.2 526 32.4 79 13.0 1,020

Black or African American

215 70 32.8 62 28.9 8 - 145

Asian

127 26 20.7 23 18.0 3 - 101

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

406 155 38.1 121 29.8 34 21.7 251

Not enrolled in college

Total, not enrolled in college

912 663 72.7 526 57.7 137 20.7 249

Men

495 381 76.9 326 65.9 55 14.3 114

Women

416 282 67.7 199 47.9 82 29.3 135

White

661 479 72.4 394 59.6 85 17.7 182

Black or African American

179 136 76.1 97 53.9 40 29.2 43

Asian

26 14 - 14 - - - 11

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

184 138 75.2 96 52.2 42 30.6 46

RECENT HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS

Total, 2013-14 high school dropouts(2)

521 239 45.9 192 36.8 47 19.8 282

Men

281 135 48.1 101 36.0 34 25.2 146

Women

240 104 43.3 91 37.8 13 12.7 136

White

358 172 48.0 150 41.9 22 12.8 186

Black or African American

109 48 44.5 27 24.6 22 - 60

Asian

34 9 - 9 - - - 25

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

145 44 30.1 27 18.4 17 - 101

(1) Data refer to persons who graduated from high school in January through October 2015
(2) Data refer to persons who dropped out of school between October 2014 and October 2015

NOTE: Detail for the above race groups (White, Black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data. Dash indicates no data or data that do not meet publication criteria (values not shown where base is less than 75,000).


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 2015
[Numbers in thousands]
Characteristic Civilian
noninsti-
tutional
population
Civilian labor force Not in labor
force
Total Percent of
population
Employed Unemployed
Total Percent of
population
Number Rate

Total, 16 to 24 years

38,491 21,190 55.1 18,945 49.2 2,245 10.6 17,302

Enrolled in school

Total, enrolled in school

21,948 7,943 36.2 7,242 33.0 702 8.8 14,005

Enrolled in high school(1)

9,604 2,050 21.3 1,752 18.2 299 14.6 7,554

Men

4,937 999 20.2 849 17.2 150 15.0 3,939

Women

4,667 1,051 22.5 903 19.3 149 14.1 3,615

White

7,019 1,587 22.6 1,363 19.4 224 14.1 5,431

Black or African American

1,480 251 16.9 213 14.4 37 14.9 1,229

Asian

430 33 7.6 28 6.4 5 - 397

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

2,190 383 17.5 304 13.9 79 20.7 1,807

Enrolled in college

12,344 5,893 47.7 5,490 44.5 403 6.8 6,451

Enrolled in 2-year college

3,258 1,870 57.4 1,715 52.6 155 8.3 1,387

Enrolled in 4-year college

9,087 4,023 44.3 3,775 41.5 247 6.2 5,064

Full-time students

10,628 4,522 42.5 4,198 39.5 324 7.2 6,106

Part-time students

1,716 1,371 79.9 1,292 75.3 78 5.7 345

Men

5,785 2,627 45.4 2,396 41.4 231 8.8 3,159

Women

6,559 3,266 49.8 3,094 47.2 172 5.3 3,292

White

9,096 4,544 50.0 4,234 46.5 310 6.8 4,552

Black or African American

1,657 773 46.7 713 43.0 60 7.8 884

Asian

1,046 292 27.9 282 27.0 10 3.4 754

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

2,411 1,207 50.0 1,100 45.6 107 8.8 1,205

Not enrolled in school

Total, not enrolled in school

16,543 13,246 80.1 11,703 70.7 1,543 11.7 3,297

16 to 19 years

3,098 2,091 67.5 1,705 55.0 386 18.5 1,007

20 to 24 years

13,445 11,155 83.0 9,998 74.4 1,157 10.4 2,290

Men

8,670 7,289 84.1 6,436 74.2 853 11.7 1,381

Less than a high school diploma

1,220 799 65.5 584 47.9 216 27.0 420

High school graduates, no college(2)

4,243 3,578 84.3 3,144 74.1 434 12.1 665

Some college or associate degree

2,101 1,855 88.3 1,699 80.9 156 8.4 247

Bachelor's degree and higher(3)

1,106 1,057 95.5 1,009 91.2 48 4.5 49

Women

7,874 5,958 75.7 5,268 66.9 690 11.6 1,916

Less than a high school diploma

1,034 461 44.6 357 34.5 104 22.6 573

High school graduates, no college(2)

3,175 2,302 72.5 1,951 61.4 351 15.2 874

Some college or associate degree

2,147 1,796 83.6 1,669 77.7 127 7.1 351

Bachelor's degree and higher(3)

1,517 1,399 92.3 1,291 85.1 108 7.7 117

White

12,293 10,001 81.4 9,050 73.6 952 9.5 2,292

Black or African American

2,753 2,117 76.9 1,659 60.3 458 21.6 635

Asian

581 408 70.3 382 65.7 26 6.5 173

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

3,811 2,947 77.3 2,571 67.5 377 12.8 864

(1) Includes a small number of persons enrolled in grades below high school.
(2) Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
(3) 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 presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data. Dash indicates no data or data that do not meet publication criteria (values not shown where base is less than 75,000).


Last Modified Date: May 12, 2016