U.S. high school graduation rates have risen steadily over the past five years, reaching 84% for the 2015-2016 school year. Encouragingly, rates rose across all income levels, and even among groups that traditionally underperform, including some minority groups, low-income students, and those with disabilities.
The importance of graduating from high school has long been emphasized by public policy experts and lawmakers. Those who graduate can expect better paying jobs and more job opportunities. The average annual income for Americans is $36,810, but it is just $20,924 for those with less than a high school diploma. Those with a high school diploma are also more likely to report better health outcomes. Of course, a high school diploma is also a prerequisite for college.
While education levels have improved on the national level, many metropolitan areas fall far behind the United States average when it comes to ensuring the success of the high school students. In some cities, graduation rates fall well below 70%.
Using data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, 24/7 Wall St. identified the metro areas with the lowest graduation rates. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 25 metropolitan statistical areas with the smallest reported graduation rate for the class that graduated during the 2014-2015 school year.
Click here to see the cities where the fewest people graduate high school.
Click here to see the cities where the most people graduate high school.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.