2015 the Urban Institute brief “Dropping Out and
profiled a little-researched group of high school dropouts: teens who leave
school early and work. Our analysis showed that these young people contribute
substantially to their households, on average about 24 percent of household
Moreover, many of their families are low
income and receive relatively little support from the federal safety net. Youth
earnings undoubtedly make a difference to both these youth and their families
in the short term.
But questions remain about how these young
people fare over the long term. Are they able to go back to school? Do they
have successful careers? Or do early choices between work and school jeopardize
their future economic well-being?