Dropping out of high school impacts a young person in many ways, not least in diminished earning potential. The Alliance for Excellent Education recently analyzed the economies of 220 metropolitan statistical areas, all fifty states, and the District of Columbia to determine the economic benefits from improving high school graduation rates.
In the New York City–Northern New Jersey–Long Island area alone (PDF), nearly 60,000 students dropped out from the Class of 2010; 26% of New York City area high school students do not graduate from high school on time with a regular diploma. Of the region's 692 high schools, 122 are considered among the nation’s lowest-performing high schools (i.e., schools where fewer than 60% of freshmen progress to their senior year on time).
The Alliance calculated that had half of these students (30,000) actually graduated with their class, the New York City region would likely accrue the following benefits:
- $455 Million in increased earnings each year, compared to likely earnings without a high school diploma.
- $329 Million in increased spending each year
- $125 Million in additional investments each year
- $995 Million in increased home sales by the midpoint of their careers
- $48 Million in increased auto sales each year
- 2,700 new jobs and $592 Million in additional economic growth
- $57 Million in increased tax revenue in an average year
- After earning a high school diploma, 44% of these new graduates would likely continue on to pursue some type of post-secondary education