(CNSNews.com) – California ranks 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 graduated from high school, according to new data from the Census Bureau.
Texas ranks No. 2 for the percentage of its residents 25 and older who have never completed ninth grade and 49th for the percentage who have graduated from high school.
9.7 percent of California residents 25 and older, the Census Bureau says, never completed ninth grade. Only 82.5 percent graduated from high school.
8.7 percent of Texas residents 25 and older never completed ninth grade, and only 82.8 percent graduated from high school.
California and Texas—while having the highest percentages of residents 25 and older who never finished ninth grade and the lowest percentages who graduated from high school—are the nation’s two most populous states.
In fact, the 2,510,370 California residents 25 and older who, according to the Census Bureau, never finished ninth grade outnumber the entire populations of 15 other states.
In California, children are required to attend school from six years of age 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 exceptions,” says the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, an agency of the California state government. (The National Center for Education Statistics also indicates that children in California are compelled by law to attend school from 6 to 18 years of age.)
Massachusetts ranks No. 1 for the percentage of its residents 25 and older—42.1 percent–who have earned at least a bachelor’s degree.
These rankings are based on data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5-year estimates, which were released this month.
In the survey, the Census Bureau asks respondents to specify the level of educational attainment for each individual in their household. The question is: “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 form then offers the respondent multiple 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 actually completed—ranging from “nursery school” through “12th grade—NO DIPLOMA.”
The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey queries a random sample of more than 3.5 million U.S. 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 newly released five-year estimates are for the period from 2013 through 2017.
Nationwide, 5.4 percent of residents 25 and older have never finished ninth grade, according to the latest five-year estimates.
Ten states exceeded the nationwide level of residents 25 and older who have never finished ninth grade. These include: California (9.7 percent), Texas (8.7 percent), New York (6.5 percent), New Mexico (6.5 percent), Kentucky (6.1 percent), Nevada (5.9 percent), Arizona (5.9 percent), Mississippi (5.6 percent), Rhode Island (5.5 percent), and Louisiana (5.4 percent).