Dropping out of school leads to miserable life

People who drop out of high school trail those who graduate in nearly every measureable aspect of life. An editorial in the Chicago Sun Times ought to be read by every student as early as possible time to demonstrate what happens when you drop out of school.


On average, a high school dropout costs society $71,000 over their lifetime; essentially the amount they pay in taxes is dwarfed by the government benefits they receive, such as welfare and food stamps. Conversely, high school graduates pay $236,000 more in taxes than they take from government.

 That’s a $300,000 gulf per dropout, according to an analysis of 2009 and 2010 U.S. Census data by a team of researchers at Northeastern University led by economist Andrew Sum. The study was commissioned by the Chicago-based Alternative Schools Network, a non-profit that supports schools that re-enroll dropouts.

Statistics show the long-term costs of dropouts are large, real and often irrevocable:

Dropouts are less likely to have a job: About 48 percent of dropouts in Chicago did not work a single week last year; for adults with a four year degree, the figure drops to between 11 and 13 percent.

Dropouts have lower earnings during their lifetime: The mean lifetime earnings for Illinois dropouts is $595,000; high school graduates almost double the earnings of the dropout at $1,066,000, with associate degrees earning almost triple the earnings at $1,509,000.

Dropouts have higher incrceration rates: About 15 percent of young male dropouts in Illinois (18- to 34-year-olds) were in prison in 2010. For black male dropouts, the figure was 29 percent. For black male high school graduates, that rate drops to under 8 percent and just 1 percent for black men with a four year degree or higher.

Dropouts are less likely to be homeowners: About 46 percent of dropouts own a home; for high school graduates, it’s 61 percent; for associate degree holders, it’s 70 percent.

The statistics prove beyond a shadow of doubt to those who are willing to listen the ramifications of dropping out of school is that you will have a miserable life in most cases.