High School Dropouts Returning to School - ARCHIVED
Articles and reports: 81-595-M2008055
Dropout rates, defined as the proportion of 20 to 24 year-olds without a high school diploma and not attending school, have been trending downward. Data from the Labour Force Survey shows that the rate for men fell from 21% in 1990/1991 to 14% in 2004/2005; for women, the rates were 16% in 1990/1991 and 9% in 2004/2005. Many dropouts later return to school, taking advantage of the 'second-chance' educational opportunities offered by provinces and institutions across Canada.
This report uses data from the Youth in Transition Survey to analyze the determinants of the return-to-school. The analysis finds that dropout rates are lower among young women than among young men and that, if they do dropout before completing high school, young women are also more likely to return to school than young men.
Young male and female dropouts are influenced by different factors in their decision to return to school. For young male dropouts, two of the strongest predictors of the decision to return to school are their parents' education and having taken, in high school, a mathematics course designed to prepare them for postsecondary studies. Young men who dropped out in their last year of high school were more likely to return to school than their counterparts who had dropped out earlier. For young women, time elapsed since leaving school is the most influential factor. However, young women who left school due to personal reasons (most often, pregnancy) are 30% more likely to return than other female dropouts.