New data from the National Center for Education Statistics forecast a decline in the number of high school graduates over the next decade and college enrollment rising, but at a much slower pace than in recent years.
The projected decline in the number of high school graduates is traced primarily to demographic shifts, and past trends in factors such as dropouts, migration, and transfers between public and private high schools, according to the federal researchers.
The report shows that the number of public and private high school graduates increased by 27 percent nationally from around 2.7 million in the 1997-98 school year to around 3.4 million in 2009-10.
But that number is expected to decline by 2 percent, to 3.37 million, between the 2009-10 and 2022-23 school years.
Within those estimates, public high school graduates are projected to increase 1 percent, to 3.1 million, by 2022-23 while private high school completers will decline by 29 percent, to 223,000.
The center also anticipates that the number of graduates will likely expand in the South and West, while the Northeast and Midwest see fewer.
A version of this article appeared in the March 12, 2014 edition of Education Week as Graduation Numbers