Blacks now equal white results at high school

20th September 1996 at 01:00
United States. For the first time since records began, young blacks are winning high-school diplomas in the US at almost the same rate as whites. A Census Bureau survey found that 86.5 percent of blacks aged 25 to 29 had successfully completed their secondary education, only a fraction lower than 87.4 percent of whites the same age.

The figures confirmed a trend over the past 50 years in which blacks have slowly closed the gap in school graduation. In measures of income, and in college degrees, they still lag behind their white contemporaries, but the figures seem to promise hope for the future.

"School completion is one of the most important influences on economic well-being," said Jennifer Day, author of the bureau's Educational Attainment report. "Higher educational attainment tends to be reflected in greater socio-economic success for individuals and the nation."

Since the 1970s, in a period when desegregation rulings and equal rights laws have helped break down America's racially divided school systems, black diploma rates have continued to improve while that for whites has largely levelled off.

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