High School Graduation

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 88.9%
Current (2021): 93.0%

Theme Educated


Percent of adults with a high school degree or equivalent

Why is it Important?

High school graduates have more job opportunities, higher expected lifetime earnings, and longer life expectancies than those without a diploma.1 Financially, high school graduates can expect to earn 34 percent more over their lifetime than high school dropouts, even if they do not pursue higher education.2 Higher graduation rates benefit society by increasing tax revenues, reducing use of government assistance, and increasing civic engagement such as voting and volunteering.3 Education is becoming more important as we transition further toward a knowledge-based economy, making high graduation rates critical for maintaining a strong economy. 

How are we Doing?

The percentage of adults aged 25 and older in the St. Louis MSA who have a high school diploma (or equivalent) has steadily increased over the past decade from 88.9 percent in 2010 to 93 percent in 2021. The rate for the St. Louis MSA is higher than that of the country as a whole in 2021, 89.4 percent. The region also saw more of an increase than the United States, 4.1 percentage points and 3.8 points, respectively. 


Geographic Level

St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). View map.


1Greenstone, Michael, Max Harris, Karen Li, Adam Looney, and Jeremy Patshnik, A Dozen Economic Facts About K-12 Education, The Hamilton Project, September 2012, accessed on 6 February 2014 at http://www.hamiltonproject.org/files/downloads_and_links/THP_12EdFacts_2.pdf

2 Carnevale, Anthony P., Stephen J. Rose, and Ban Cheah, The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings, The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 5 August 2011; accessed on 6 February 2014 at http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/collegepayoff-summary.pdf

3The Alliance for Excellent Education,The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools, November 2011; accessed on 12 February 2014 at http://all4ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/HighCost.pdf

Data Sources

U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates (S1501)