This chart shows high school dropout rates using the Current Population Survey, and how they change when adjusted to include information about the prison and jail population. The figure shows that the effect of excluding inmates on estimates of graduation rates has grown over time. By 2008, conventional data sources that exclude the incarcerated population underestimated the dropout rate among black men by 40 percent.
This chart shows that excluding the incarcerated population from surveys leads to a distorted picture of racial inequality in educational outcomes. This figure shows that when inmates are included the racial gap in high school completion among men has hovered close to its current level of 11 percentage points for most of the past twenty years.
Conventional data sources indicate that less than 42 percent of black male dropouts were employed on any given day in 2008—a drop of over 20 percentage points since 1980. As bleak as these numbers may seem, this figure shows that including inmates in estimates of employment-population ratios suggests that employment rates among young, black, low-skill men have actually fallen by more than 50 percent since 1980.