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Future High School Graduation Classes Will Be More Diverse

A new report projects that, by the 2019-20 school year, 45 percent of public high school graduates in the United States will be nonwhite, up by more than 7 percent over the class of 2009 and driven by a rapid increase in the number of Hispanics completing high school.

White public high school graduates will drop by 228,000 and black non-Hispanics by 41,000, while Hispanic graduates will increase by 197,000 and the number of Asians/Pacific Islanders graduating will rise by 49,000, according to the 8th edition of "Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates", recently released by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, based in Denver. The trend will likely translate into pressure on policymakers to remedy the achievement gap among traditionally underrepresented populations.

The report also anticipates the population of U.S. high school graduates will experience a modest decline after nearly two decades of sustained growth. The number of high school graduates topped 3.4 million in the 2010-11 academic year after 15 years of growth, then began a decline that will stabilize in 2013-14 at 3.2 to 3.3 million graduates. The next period of significant growth is projected to begin in the 2020-21 school year, the commission's analysis indicates.

Click here to view projections by state.

An analysis from the National Center for Education Statistics last week also reported an expected drop in high school graduations and a slower pace of growth in college enrollment in the next decade.

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