Indiana's Economic Snapshots
This Month: Rates—Dropouts and Unemployment

Indiana's High School Dropout Rate and Rank

Figure 1

According to the American Community Survey (ACS), Indiana has the worst high school dropout rate in the country. At 13 percent, Indiana's dropout rate is considerably above the national average of 8 percent.

Percent and Numeric Change in Dropouts from School-Year 2002/2003 to 2003/2004

Figure 2

According to the Indiana Department of Education, there were 8,045 dropouts from public schools (seventh through 12th grade) during the 2003/04 school year, which was an 18.5 percent increase over the 2002/03 school year. At 333.3 percent, Decatur County had the largest year-over-year increase in dropouts; however, the increase was from three students in 2002/03 to 13 students in 2003/04. At 1,202, Marion County had the largest number of students dropping out of the public school system during the 2003/04 school year; this represents a 35.1 percent increase over 2002/03.

High School Dropout Rates in the Midwest Compared to the U.S. Average

Figure 3

Defined as “the percentage of teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19, who are not enrolled in high school and are not high school graduates,” the high school dropout in the Midwest was lower than the U.S. average from 2002 through 2004, with the exception of Indiana and Kentucky. Between 2002 and 2004, the Midwestern states of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin had an average high school dropout rate of 6.7 percent, which was 1.7 percent less than the national average. At 4 percent in 2003, Wisconsin had the lowest dropout rate in the country.

Unemployment Rate by County, March 2006

Figure 4

All but nine of Indiana's 92 counties experienced a drop in their unemployment rates between March 2005 and March 2006, according to the latest labor force figures. Of the nine counties with no decline in rates, Lake (6.7) and Lawrence (7.8) counties had no change between March 2005 and 2006.

Rate increases for the other seven counties were not dramatic, ranging from three-tenths of a point in Washington County to one-tenth of a point in Crawford County.

The biggest declines in unemployment rates over the past year were in Grant, Putnam, Clay and Sullivan counties, each with a drop of 1.7 points or more.