High School Graduation Rates and the Economy

In Janet’s May blog post on the economy, she explored Cincinnati’s income growth in relation to national and competitor averages. Among other things, she observes that “Cincinnati’s total personal income grew, on average, 3.9 percent annually, well below the national rate of 5.4 percent and the peer regional average of 4.8 percent. I don’t know all the reasons why Cincinnati is lagging, but a potential solution can be found in educational attainment.

This month, I’m going to highlight a recent report that explores the close connection between education and the economy at a national, state, and regional level. The report was released by the Alliance for Excellent Education and is titled Education and the Economy: Boosting State and National Economies by Improving High School Graduation Rates. As part of this study, an economic model was created that demonstrates the economic benefits of improving high school graduation rates. The model, developed by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc., calculates the gross increase in important economic factors such as individual earnings, home and auto sales, job and economic growth, spending and investment, tax revenue, and human capital based on reducing by half the number of students from the Class of 2010 who failed to graduate on time. The Alliance has calculated economic findings for the more than 220 U.S. metro areas, as well as findings for the nation and each state.

To read the rest of the blog post and for estimates specific to the Cincinnati region, Ohio, and Kentucky, click here.

Geoff Zimmerman writes a monthly education blog for the Community Research Collaborative (CRC), a research partnership between the University of Cincinnati and United Way of Greater Cincinnati. The CRC helps policymakers, community leaders, and service providers to identify the health, social, and economic issues facing the Greater Cincinnati area.

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