Nearly 54.1 million Americans are enrolled in school — from kindergarten up to the 12th grade. The vast majority of them attend public schools, typically funded by a mix of local, state, and federal tax dollars. Despite near universal, virtually unrestricted access, only about 84% of those who make it to high school graduate with a diploma in four years.
In general, the benefits associated with a high school education are practically a given and not a matter for any serious debate. High school dropouts have fewer employment options, are generally less insulated from economic downturns, are more likely to struggle financially, and more likely to be in poor health than those with greater levels of education. A high school diploma is also a prerequisite for admission to college.
The average annual salary of American adults who have not graduated from high school is $23,031, about $7,600 less than the average salary for those with a diploma, and $29,500 less than the salary for those with a bachelor’s degree. Even more strikingly, life expectancy among high school dropouts is about nine years shorter than life expectancy among college graduates.
Encouragingly, high school graduation rates have been on the rise in recent years, as dropout rates have been steadily falling. In dozens of metro areas, high school graduation rates exceed 90%, even topping 95% in a handful of cases. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of high school freshman who graduate within four years across U.S. metro areas to identify the 50 cities where the most people graduate from high school.
These areas tend to have healthy job markets and are almost exclusively confined to the Southern and Midwestern United States. In most cases, the cities on this list are located in states that have policies that make dropping out relatively difficult.
Click here to see the cities where the most people graduate high school.
Click here to see the cities where the fewest people graduate high school.
Click here to read our detailed findings and methodology.