Bloomberg News

Immigrant Students Top U.S.-Born in High School Diplomas

September 05, 2012

Immigrants were more likely to graduate from New York City high schools than U.S.-born students in 2009, according to the city’s Independent Budget Office.

The graduation rate for foreign-born students was 67 percent, compared with about 66 percent for nonimmigrants in the most populous U.S. city, said the publicly funded nonpartisan fiscal monitor.

“Students from Asia, Europe and Africa were far more likely to graduate than U.S.-born students and less likely to drop out,” the agency said in a report issued today. “Students from the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico were less likely to graduate.”

The analysis of almost 73,000 students was conducted after the Education Department’s report of “dramatic increases” in graduation rates since the school year that began in 2001 “prompted questions from some education analysts and advocates,” the budget office said. The report found graduation and dropout rates no more than 1 percentage point different from the official calculations.

Children born in southern Africa graduated at the highest rate, 92 percent, though just 11 students were included in the analysis. The 954 born in Mexico had the lowest rate, 43 percent. There are about 1.1 million students in New York City’s public schools.

Hispanics fared worst among ethnic groups regardless of whether they were born stateside, 60 percent, or overseas, 56 percent. U.S.-born Asians were highest, with 87 percent graduating; for their immigrant peers, the rate was 75 percent.

Country of origin did little to change the rate among whites, who graduated about 79 percent of the time. Foreign-born black students had a rate of 68 percent, beating their U.S.-born counterparts by about seven percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Esmé E. Deprez in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at

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