Children are told from a young age that they must graduate from high school, but what are the real effects if this does not occur? It is important that high school students learn the incredible price they may end up having to pay in their lives and their futures if they decide to drop out of school.

Higher Unemployment Rates

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports from October 1998 show that 28.2 percent of employed youth found themselves to be unemployed within a year after they had dropped out of high school. When compared to students who did graduate high school, 18.4 percent of high school graduates who chose not to enter college were unemployed. The department goes on to report that unemployment rates are considerably higher for women in both cases. The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, which operates out of Clemson University in South Carolina, states that those who drop out of high school are four times more likely to not have a job than those who have graduated from at least a four-year college.

Less Pay

The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network warns students that graduating high school affects their financial stability all the way to retirement age. Statistics provided by the center state that people who graduated high school earn an average of $143 more per week than those who chose not to graduate. In addition, college graduates make on average $336 more weekly than those who only graduated high school. This is about $479 more per week than those who did not even graduate high school. Statistics show that getting as much education as possible clearly leads to greater financial success.

Greater Need for Assistance

According to the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, since high school dropouts have a greater chance of living in poverty or with considerably low income, they also have greater instances of seeking assistance from the public and government than their counterparts who graduated high school. Some public assistance programs which high school dropouts are likely to apply for include WIC, Medicaid, Affordable Housing and Food Stamps. This ends up costing everyone more money on a national, state and local level.

Greater Chance of Incarceration

High school dropouts make up a higher proportion of convicts and inmates awaiting death row in America, according to the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. The center reports that prisoners who are high school dropouts make up as much as 82 percent of the prison population in the U.S.

Economic Loss

In its campaign to improve the public education system in Colorado, the Donnell-Kay Foundation brings attention to the dilemma that a greater number of high school dropouts bring to local economy. The foundation reminds everyone that high school dropouts are more likely to have substantially lower income which, in turn, means that there is less revenue being spent within the local and state economies. Businesses in areas with high dropout rates have fewer customers and, therefore, generate less income. These areas will also gain less revenue through sales tax, property tax and other forms of taxation that serve to provide revenue for the state government.