Least-Educated State: 2,471,189 California Residents 25 and Older Never Completed 9th Grade; Highest Percentage in Nation
(CNSNews.com) – California once again ranked No. 1 among the 50 states for the percentage of its residents 25 and older who have never completed ninth grade and 50th for the percentage who have at least graduated from high school, according to new five-year estimates (2014-2018) released Thursday by the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
California, as CNSNews.com reported last year, also ranked No. 1 for the percentage who never completed ninth grade and No. 50 for the percentage who had graduated from high school in the five-year estimates (2013-2017) the Census Bureau released in December 2018.
In California, according to the new five-year estimate, 2,471,189 residents 25 and older had never completed ninth grade.
That equaled 9.4 percent of the state’s total 2018 population of residents 25 and older.
Texas ranked second with 8.5 percent (1,506,111) of its 25-and-older population having never completed ninth grade.
New York ranked third with 6.3 percent (857,177) of its 25-and-oder population having never completed ninth grade.
New Mexico ranked fourth with 6.2 percent (86,723) of its 25-and-older population having never completed ninth grade.
Kentucky ranked fifth with 5.8 percent (174,998) of its 25-and-older population having never completed ninth grade.
The five states with the smallest percentages of residents 25 and older who never finished ninth grade were Wyoming (1.9 percent), Montana (2 percent), New Hampshire (2.2 percent), Vermont (2.3 percent) and Alaska (2.6 percent).
The 2,471,189 people 25 and older in California who never finished ninth grade exceeded the total populations of 15 states. (See chart below.)
Similarly, only 82.9 percent of California residents 25 and older had at least graduated from high school. That ranked California last among the 50 states for this metric.
Texas ranked 49th among the 50 states with 83.2 percent of its residents 25 and older having at least graduated from high school.
Mississippi ranked 48th with 83.9 percent; Louisiana ranked 47th with 84.8 percent; and New Mexico ranked 46th 85.3 percent.
At the other end of the scale, Montana ranked No. 1 with 93.2 percent of its residents 25 and older having at least graduated from high school.
Minnesota ranked No. 1 with 93 percent; New Hampshire ranked No. 3 with 92.9 percent’ Wyoming ranked No. 4 with 92.9 percent; and Alaska ranked No. 5 with 92.7 percent.
Even though California is the state with the largest percentage of residents 25 and older who never finished ninth grade and the smallest percentage who graduated from high school, California law requires children to stay in school until they are 18.
“California’s compulsory education laws require children between six and eighteen years of age to attend school, with a limited number of specified exceptions,” says California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office.
“Under state law,” says the Legislative Analyst’s Office, “a pupil who, without a valid excuse, is absent from school for three full days in one school year, or is tardy or absent for more than 30 minutes during the school day on three occasions in one school year, is considered truant. Once a student is designated a truant, state law requires schools, districts, counties, and courts to intervene and ensure that parents and pupils receive certain services to assist them in complying with attendance laws.
In the American Community Survey, the Census Bureau asks respondents: “What is the highest degree or level of school this person has COMPLETED. Mark (X) ONE box. If currently enrolled, mark the previous grade or highest degree received.”
The survey offers respondents options ranging from “no schooling completed” to “professional degree” or “doctorate degree.” If an individual has not earned a high school degree, the respondent is asked to specify the highest grade the individual completed, ranging from “nursery school” through “12th grade—NO DIPLOMA.”
The American Community Survey surveys a random sample of more than 3.5 million households each year and publishes a one-year estimate for each year. The five-year estimate, the bureau says, “is a weighted average of the five one-year estimates.” The 2014-2018 five-year estimates were released Thursday.