The good folks at WICHE just released some fresh data on high school graduates, past, present, and future, and as always, it's interesting. Their website has some excellent summaries, and some interactive dashboards, but I like to download the data and create my own views, some of which I'm sharing here.
If you've looked at this before, you know all the disclaimers about the accuracy of the data; it seems to be pretty good, but data this big is complicated and hard to work with, and it's never perfect. In fact, the staff there said that prior year's estimates were a little short due to an unanticipated bump in high school graduation rates. Good news.
The point is this: This data gives you a good place to put your feet down and get a glimpse--but not a perfect view--of the future. It may and probably should help you with your planning efforts, and especially to talk to people at your institution about current and future realities. Of course, it's not just numbers, but breakouts of numbers that are important, so I've looked at this a lot of ways. And that's still not sufficient. No one could have anticipated a pandemic, for instance, and that event will make future numbers less precise. Additionally, there are many things not contained in this data that you might want to dig into, using Census Bureau or Ipums data: More granular geography, income, parental attainment, to name a few.
There are six views here, using the tabs across the top. Most allow you to filter to specific states or regions; some allow you to limit the years, using the filters.
Totals and School Types shows high school graduates out to 2037. I doubt I'll be worrying about this then. It shows totals and breakouts by public and private.
Totals by Ethnicity shows the same data (but just for public schools), but the colored lines show breakouts by race and ethnicity.
Changes by Ethnicity, Selected Years shows how the number of high school graduates has and will change over a long stretch, from 2014 to 2037. Numbers on top; percent change on bottom. Note that some early years had Asian and Asian/Pacific Islander categories as one; in other years they are separate.
Selected years: Counts and Percentages shows size, numbers, and percentages by ethnicity over time.
Pie Charts is essentially the same view, but displayed as pies for fans of that format.
And Ethnicity by percent shows how the composition of our graduating high school classes has changed over a long period. It's especially interesting to use a state or region filter here to see how different states have very different class compositions.
Even if you don't work in EM, I think you'll find the insight compelling and interesting. As always, let me know if you find anything interesting.