The Higher Dropout Rate of Foreign-born Teens

Foreign-born youths are significant contributors to the nation's teen school dropout population. Only 8 percent of the nation's teens are foreign born, but nearly 25 percent of teen school dropouts were born outside the United States, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of data from the 2000 U.S. Census.

Many of these foreign-born school dropouts–nearly 40 percent–are recent arrivals to this country who were already behind in school before they left for the United States. In absolute numbers, recently arrived foreign-born teens who had difficulties in school before migration are a relatively small phenomenon–they make up just 6 percent of all foreign-born youths–but they are at high risk of dropping out once they arrive. (A youth is categorized as a dropout if he or she is not currently enrolled in school and has not completed a high school education. This includes those who have never enrolled in school in the United States.)

The impact of schooling difficulties before migration on school enrollment in the U.S. applies widely to youths from all countries of origin. For example, recently arrived teens from China who made adequate progress in school before migrating have a school dropout rate of less than 4 percent. But recent arrivals from China who did not make adequate school progress in China have a dropout rate greater than 30 percent.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.