A new study found that while the high school dropout rate among Latinos remains high, the number of Latinas enrolled in college now matches that of their white counterparts.
The study, “UP FOR GRABS: The Gains and Prospects of First- and Second-Generation Young Adults, by the Migration Policy Institute, examines the discrepancies in educational attainment in 16 to 26 year-olds.
According to the report, the high school graduation rate for Latinos is 21% lower than for non-Latino whites, with higher dropout rates reported in cities with high socioeconomic disparities and racial segregation.
“Epicenters of the dropout crisis are made up of a combination of traditional big-city districts and large countywide school systems,” reported Education Week.
However, the study highlights that “a much larger, faster-growing group – the 1.2 million second-generation Latinos – had substantially higher rates of school attendance.”
By the time they are in college, however, Latinas are closing that gap. According to the study, the rate of college enrollment among second-generation Latinas is 46%, compared to 50% among their white counterparts.
While Latinas still trail their white counterparts by 18% in completing their college degrees, the enrollment numbers are still cause for optimism:
“…Our research shows that wages rise with every level of education. Second-generation Hispanic women with at least a bachelor’s degree earn on average $10 more per hour than those with a high school degree,” said Michael Fix, Senior Vice President of MPI and co-author of the study.
According to the MPI, Latinos account for 53% of the 6.5 million second-generation Americans, and 58% of the 4.8 million first-generation young adults in the U.S.
“[Latinos’] trajectory in the classroom and on the job takes on new prominence as they assume a greater role in a U.S. workforce that continues to age,” said the authors of the report.
Other findings in the report:
- Roughly 2.2 million foreign-born youth are bilingual, reporting they speak English “very well” in addition to speaking a second language.
- 37% of second-generation Latino men enrolled in college, compared with non-Latino white men, who have a rate of 40%.
- The rate of high school attendance, enrollment in postsecondary institutions, and the completion of an associate’s or higher degree among second-generation Latinos is significantly higher than their first-generation counterparts.