In Chicago, nearly 40,000 youth between the ages of 15 and 20 and approximately 97,000 youth ages 16 to 24 are high school dropouts. These teens and young adults often find their personal circumstances too insurmountable to overcome on their own in order to stay in school.
High school dropouts are less likely to receive skills and experience needed for employment, which also impacts the development of the future workforce. In 2001, only 55% of young adult dropouts were employed (nationally), compared with 74% of high school graduates and 87% of four-year college graduates.
Dropouts are 3.5 times more likely than high school graduates to be incarcerated in their lifetime. 90% of the 11,000 youth in adult detention facilities have no more than a 9th grade education.
Tax Revenue Loss
Dropouts earn less over their lifetime which equates to fewer tax contributions for the community. They also contribute to the state and federal tax coffers at only about one-half the rate of high school graduates; over a working lifetime about $60,000 or less, or $50 billion annually for the 23 million high school non-completers, ages 18-67.
Over the lifetime of each dropout, taxpayers bear the cost of approximately $290,000 due to loss of tax contributions, increased public assistance costs and correctional costs. Dropouts are substantially more likely to rely on public assistance than those with a high school diploma.