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United States
High School Graduation
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High School Graduation estimates the percentage of incoming ninth graders who graduate within 4 years and are considered regular graduates. The National Center for Education Statistics collects enrollment and completion data and estimates the graduation rate for each state. The rate is the number of graduates divided by the estimated count of freshmen 4 years earlier. This estimated count of freshmen is the sum of the number of 8th graders 5 years earlier, the number of 9th graders 4 years earlier and the number of 10th graders 3 years earlier, divided by 3. Enrollment counts also include a proportional distribution of students not enrolled in a specific grade. The 2013 ranks are based on 2009 to 2010 school year data. Due to item non-response, data for Connecticut was imputed for 2009–10 and data for California and Nevada were imputed for 2008–09. Imputations are based on prior year rates.

Education is a vital contributor to health as people must be able to learn about, create, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Education can also help facilitate more effective health care visits as patients must be able to understand and participate in their care for optimal results.[1] The connection between education and health has been well documented and spans almost all health conditions.[2] Educational attainment is also a strong predictor of overall adult health and life expectancy.[3] Education is strongly tied to higher earnings, which is associated with lower rates of uninsurance, allowing for greater access to quality health care. The breadth of health determining factors which education affects is so large that investments in education have the potential to improve health and save more lives than medical advances.[4] Each additional year of education is associated with an increase in many health promoting behaviors, and policies aimed at increasing education levels could have tremendous impacts on health.[5] Increasing educational attainment in a population has been shown to improve the health status of the population.[6]

The high school graduation rate varies from more than 90.0 percent of incoming ninth graders who graduate within 4 years in Wisconsin and Vermont to less than 58.0 percent in Nevada. The national average is 78.2 percent, compared to 75.5 percent in the 2012 Edition, an increase in the high school graduation rate of 4.0 percent.


[1] Peerson A. Health literacy revisited: What do we mean and why does it matter? Health Promot Internation. 2009;24(3):285.

[2] Ross CE. The links between education and health. Am Sociol Rev. 1995:719.

[3] Molla MT, Madans JH, Wagener DK. Differentials in Adult Mortality and Activity Limitation by Years of Education in the United States at the End of the 1990s. Population and Development Review. 2004;30(4):625-46.

[4] Woolf SH. Giving everyone the health of the educated: An examination of whether social change would save more lives than medical advances. Am J Public Health. 2007;97(4):679.

[5] Cutler DM, Lleras-Muney A. Education and health: Evaluating theories and evidence. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research; 2006.

[6] Lleras-Muney A. The relationship between education and adult mortality in the United States. The Review of Economic Studies. 2005;72(1):189.2005;72(1):189.


USA High School Graduation (1990-2013) see more
  • Percentage of incoming ninth graders who graduate in 4 years from a high school with a regular degree.
  • Percentage of incoming ninth graders who graduate in four years from a high school with a regular degree.

The measures tracked by America's Health Rankings are those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For a state to improve the health of its population, efforts must focus on these measures, these determinants of health.


State Changes
Over Time
Rank Value Take Action
Alabama graph 43 67.1 View Actions
Alaska graph 40 69.1 View Actions
Arizona graph 39 69.6 View Actions
Arkansas graph 32 74.4 View Actions
California graph 38 70.7 View Actions
Colorado graph 25 76.6 View Actions
Connecticut graph 11 81.8 View Actions
Delaware graph 36 71.9 View Actions
Florida graph 44 65.0 View Actions
Georgia graph 45 64.1 View Actions
Hawaii graph 30 75.4 View Actions
Idaho graph 15 80.4 View Actions
Illinois graph 17 79.5 View Actions
Indiana graph 33 73.9 View Actions
Iowa graph 3 86.5 View Actions
Kansas graph 18 78.9 View Actions
Kentucky graph 27 76.4 View Actions
Louisiana graph 47 61.3 View Actions
Maine graph 20 78.5 View Actions
Maryland graph 16 80.0 View Actions
Massachusetts graph 14 80.8 View Actions
Michigan graph 24 77.0 View Actions
Minnesota graph 3 86.5 View Actions
Mississippi graph 46 63.6 View Actions
Missouri graph 10 81.9 View Actions
Montana graph 13 81.5 View Actions
Nebraska graph 5 86.3 View Actions
Nevada graph 50 52.0 View Actions
New Hampshire graph 12 81.7 View Actions
New Jersey graph 6 84.4 View Actions
New Mexico graph 48 59.1 View Actions
New York graph 41 68.8 View Actions
North Carolina graph 42 68.6 View Actions
North Dakota graph 7 83.1 View Actions
Ohio graph 19 78.7 View Actions
Oklahoma graph 23 77.8 View Actions
Oregon graph 34 73.8 View Actions
Pennsylvania graph 8 83.0 View Actions
Rhode Island graph 21 78.4 View Actions
South Carolina graph 49 58.9 View Actions
South Dakota graph 9 82.5 View Actions
Tennessee graph 35 72.6 View Actions
Texas graph 36 71.9 View Actions
Utah graph 25 76.6 View Actions
Vermont graph 1 88.6 View Actions
Virginia graph 29 75.5 View Actions
Washington graph 31 74.8 View Actions
West Virginia graph 22 78.2 View Actions
Wisconsin graph 2 88.5 View Actions
Wyoming graph 28 75.8 View Actions
  • 1990 - 2013
    Annual Report
  • 2013
    Senior Report

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