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Economic News Release
CPS CPS Program Links

College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2010 High School Graduates Technical Note

Technical Note

   The estimates in this release were obtained from a supplement to 
the October 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of
about 60,000 households that provides information on the labor force,
employment, and unemployment for the nation. The survey is conducted
monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Data in this release relate to the school enrollment status of persons
16 to 24 years of age in the civilian noninstitutional population in the
calendar week that includes the 12th of October. Updated population con-
trols for the Current Population Survey are introduced annually with the
release of January data. Additional information about population controls
is available on the BLS Web site at

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory
impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200;
Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.
Reliability of the estimates

   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and 
nonsampling error. When a sample, rather than the entire population,
is surveyed, there is a chance that the sample estimates may differ
from the "true" population values they represent. The exact difference,
or sampling error, varies depending on the particular sample selected,
and this variability is measured by the standard error of the estimate.
There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an
estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard
errors from the "true" population value because of sampling error. BLS
analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence.

   The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling
error can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a
segment of the population, inability to obtain information for all
respondents in the sample, inability or unwillingness of respondents
to provide correct information, and errors made in the collection or
processing of the data.

   A full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and
information on estimating standard errors is available at


   The principal concepts used in connection with the school
enrollment series are described briefly below.

   School enrollment. Respondents were asked whether they were
currently enrolled in a regular school, including day or night school
in any type of public, parochial, or other private school. Regular
schooling is that which may advance a person toward a high school
diploma or a college, university, or professional degree. Such schools
include elementary schools, junior or senior high schools, and colleges
and universities. Other schooling, including trade schools; on-the-job
training; and courses that do not require physical presence in school,
such as correspondence courses or other courses of independent study,
is included only if the credits granted count towards promotion in
regular school.

   Full-time and part-time enrollment in college. College students
are classified as attending full time if they were taking 12 hours of
classes or more (or 9 hours of graduate classes) during an average
school week and as part time if they were taking fewer hours.

   High school graduation status. Persons who were not enrolled in
school at the time of the survey were asked whether they had graduated
from high school. Those who had graduated were asked when they
completed their high school education. Persons who had not graduated,
that is, school dropouts, were asked when they last attended a regular
school. Those who were enrolled in college at the time of the survey
also were asked when they graduated from high school.

   Recent high school graduates. Persons who completed high school in
the calendar year of the survey (January through October) are recent
high school graduates.

   Recent high school dropouts. Persons who were not enrolled in
school at the time of the survey, attended school a year earlier, and
did not have a high school diploma are recent dropouts.

Last Modified Date: September 26, 2023