Fast Facts: US High School Statistics

High school is an important step in a student’s education in the United States. It is often seen as an indicator of future success and quality of life. Statistics show that high schools across the country cater to a large population; so it is necessary to consider various factors to get a comprehensive view of the US educational system.

Factors such as test scores, graduation rates, and post-high school plans can give us insights into how well high school students are doing.

This article will share some interesting statistics about United States high schools. We hope it will give you a better understanding of our nation’s students’ academic rigor and demands.

Stay tuned for more posts in our Fast Facts series!

High School Student Enrollment for Private and Public Schools

High school student enrollment is a critical indicator of educational success. By looking at how many students are enrolled in secondary education, we can get an idea of how the youth population is doing overall. This can help us see if the nation is achieving greater educational status. Here are some statistics regarding the number of students enrolled in high school.

  • In 2021, approximately 16.9 million students were expected to be enrolled in high school. This is a large number of students, and it is crucial to ensure that each one receives a quality education.
  • Approximately 15.3 million students will be enrolled in public high schools. This is a significant portion of the student population and thus warrants further exploration.
  • In 1990, the number of high school students in the United States was the lowest it had ever been, with only 11,341,000 enrolled.
  • The number of students enrolled in public and private schools is expected to reach 17.3 million by 2023. This will be one of the highest enrollment numbers in recent history.

High School Statistics and Rankings

Ranking high schools in the United States is a process that has been increasing in popularity in recent years. Various factors are considered when determining how to rank high schools, such as the competence of the teachers, the availability of Advanced Placement courses, and the teacher-to-student ratio.

  • The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Virginia) was ranked the best high school in the United.
  • Lincroft’s High Technology high school was ranked as the best Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) high school in the United States.
  • Massachusetts had the highest number of top-ranking high schools, with 49.6% of schools in the top 25%.
  • Maine and Nebraska ranked at the bottom, with only 3.6% and 5.8% of high schools appearing in the top 25%.

High School Density

High school density can be, to a certain extent, uneven throughout the United States. The irregularity of high school density in the United States is because of population density, state size, or whether a certain location is categorized as a rural or an urban area. Therefore, the statistics can differ to some extent.

  • As of 2021, there were 26,727 high schools in the United States.
  • Of these high schools, 2,845 are private.
  • California has the highest number of high schools in the United States, with approximately 3,892 schools.
  • Delaware has the lowest number of high schools, with only 83 as of 2021.
  • Even though the District of Columbia isn’t a state, it has 72 schools, the lowest number of schools in the United States.

High School Students Demographics

It is necessary to look at the broader community’s diverse demographics in addition to the high school student population. In particular, statistics on gender and ethnicity aid in determining how equitable the American educational system is.

  • In the United States, 15.1 million pupils attended high school between 2019 and 2020.
  • With somewhat fewer girls than boys enrolling in high school, the gender parity index (GPI) is 0.99.
  • Regarding gender equity, the United States high schools come in at number 115 globally.
  • There were 47% White kids, 27% Hispanic students, 15% Black students, and 11% other racial groups.

High School Teachers

Teachers in high school have a significant impact on how well students are educated and how competent the school is seen to be. Thus, it is crucial to take into account the number of teachers who are now employed in the US as well as their backgrounds. Here are some statistics regarding high school teachers in the U.S.

  • There were 1.8 million high school teachers in 2017–2018.
  • Women made up 64% of high school teachers.
  • Standard teaching certificates or advanced professional certificates were held by 90% of teachers.
  • 61% of high school educators have post-baccalaureate degrees.
  • Ten to twenty years of teaching experience was the average for 40% of teachers.
  • Only 9% of educators had fewer than three years of experience.
  • In 45% of high schools, teachers were assigned to provide academic or specialized coaching.

United States High School Student Courses and Performances

The courses that high schools offer, in addition to student performance, are frequently reliable indications of the nation’s general educational standing. The most common high school courses and overall student achievement in these courses ought to be therefore be examined.

  • In 2015, 15-year-olds had reading literacy scores on average of 497, which was a little bit higher than the OECD average of 493.
  • Teenagers’ math literacy scores were lower than the OECD average of 490, with 470 for those aged 15 to 24.
  • Performances by US high school students
  • Along with student achievement, high school course offerings are frequently reliable measures of the nation’s general educational quality. In order to understand student performance in the most popular courses generally, it is crucial to look at both of these.
  • In 2015, 15-year-olds had reading literacy scores on average of 497, which was a little bit higher than the OECD average of 493.
  • Teenagers’ math literacy scores were lower than the OECD average of 490, with 470 for those aged 15 to 24.

High School Graduation Rates

The percentage of Americans who graduate from high school is an excellent predictor of their subsequent quality of life. How much money people make and how successful they are in their subsequent employment are frequently influenced by their high school graduation. Graduation rates are another indicator of how effectively an education system has developed through time.

  • The number of high school graduates in 2020 was projected to be 3,650,00.
  • As of 2021, 85.3% of students nationwide graduated from high school at an all-time high.
  • The percentage of graduates increased in 52% of the states.
  • On-time graduation rates were achieved by 89.7% of Caucasian students, 81% of Hispanic students, and 79% of Black learners.
  • Despite an increase of 12%, the graduation rates for black students are still 6.3 points lower than the country’s average.
  • Even though Hispanic students’ graduation rates have risen by 10%, they are still 4.3 points below the country’s average.
  • Learners with impairments continue to graduate at a rate of 67.1%.

High School Dropout Rates

Dropout rates in high school might be just as illuminating as graduation rates. The learners who are falling behind must be taken into consideration by experts. Dropout rates can have a significant impact on crime rates, personal wages, and employment rates.

  • The overall dropout rate was 6% in 2016, significantly decreasing from 15% in 1970.
  • For Black children, the dropout rate fell from 21% to 6%.
  • For young Hispanic people, the dropout rate fell from 36% to 9%.
  • The dropout rate among young Caucasians fell from 12% to 5%.
  • Male learners made up about 7% of all dropouts.
  • Parents born in the United States made up 8% of all dropouts.
  • High school dropout rates among learners of foreign descent were 16.8%.

The United States education system is improving over time. In contrast to previous years, there are more graduates than dropouts in the United States.

Additionally, it appears that American pupils are similarly literate as learners in many other nations across the world.

However, there is still much opportunity for improvement in the American educational system when it comes to racial and gender equality.

This is especially true for STEM and AP courses, which can indicate post-high school study success. The organization must also support those who have disabilities and increase graduation rates overall. These developments will result in a system of education that values equality and academic success.


In order to better serve the needs of high school students across the United States, it is important to have a clear understanding of the current statistics.

The fast facts about US high schools that we’ve shared provide a snapshot of the situation and can help to guide future decision-making.

If you are looking for an American high school education that provides opportunities for your child to thrive, don’t hesitate to contact High School of America today.

We would be happy to discuss our affordable program with you and answer any questions you may have.