WASHINGTON (AP) _ The percentage of students who graduate from high school has inched up in the past three years after sliding a bit in the mid-1990s, the Education Department said Thursday.
Nearly nine in 10 people aged 18 or older had finished high school by last year, according to a new report based on Census data.
But graduation rates for poor and minority students continue to lag behind.
High school completion rates for 18-to-24-year-olds, considered one measure of national dropout figures, rose last year to 86.5 percent in October 2000, up from 85.9 percent in 1999.
Minority students, whose graduation rates also rose, still lag behind those of white students, the report said.
The graduation rate for white students was above the national average at 91.8 percent. The rate for black students was 83.7 percent. For Hispanics, the rate was even lower, at 64.1 percent. About 28 percent of Hispanic students were considered dropouts last year, according to the figures, which were compiled as part of the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey in October 2000.