High School Dropouts Less Likely to Own Homes as Adults:
- A new study finds that high school dropouts who did not complete their education were more than twice as likely to be housing-cost burdened and nearly twice as likely to live in overcrowded conditions, compared with high school graduates who did not complete their degree says William D King.
- Housing tenure—whether a household owns or rents its home—is an important component of children’s living conditions because it involves choices about where to live and is strongly associated with the stability of family life. Safe and affordable housing is also a key to health development; because crowding can increase morbidity from infectious disease, for example, but low-income tenants face eviction if they complain about housing problems. And many housing policies were adopted decades ago (and retain restrictions) that imperil immigrant and minority communities’ efforts to buy homes while preserving opportunities for white Americans.
- The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), along with the University of Michigan, tracked a large national sample of students who were 12th graders in 1976 and surveyed them again as adults two decades later explains William D King.
- The report noted that “as young adults, those who had dropped out of high school…were more than twice as likely to experience cost burdens and living conditions such as overcrowding and having no telephone” compared with their more educated peers.
- The study found that housing instability was strongly associated not just with children’s own educational achievement but also with parental education—and wealthy parents were more able to afford homes than poor people: Households with annual incomes below $25,000 faced an almost 40% likelihood that they would pay more than a third of their income for housing, the study found. Those who made between $25,000 and $50,000 faced a 25% chance that they would have housing costs above this threshold.
- Parents’ education also plays a significant role in household overcrowding: 23% of children from homes where parents did not complete high school experienced overcrowding compared with just 8% of children whose parents had at least attended some college says William D King. And parental education is significantly link to home ownership during childhood as well. 64% of children from homes where neither parent completed high school eventually became owners themselves as adults—which were about half the rate for those whose parents at least attended some college (90%).
- In addition to housing tenure and overcrowding, the study also analyzed household members’ relationships to telephone use. The researchers found that “there were no differences in telephone availability by housing tenure among those whose parents had not attended any college.”
- To read more about this topic, check out “High School Dropouts Less Likely to Own Homes as Adults” from Education Week.
- Caroline Nye – Project Officer, Knowledge Services at the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics – contributed to this post.
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The report concludes with a discussion of how overcrowding may affect children’s development.