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With a very fluctuating economy and an unstable job market, a high school diploma as well as a continued education is becoming extremely important. An increasing amount of businesses will not even consider a job application unless a person has a high school diploma. The Bureau of Labor Statistics contains data showing the increase in opportunities that a person with a high school diploma has in comparison to a person that has dropped out of high school. The data shows that only 55% of high school dropouts were employed from the year 2000 through 2005 as opposed to 71% of high school graduates (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008 52:2 26). Although receiving an education is important to success later in life, students who are dropping out of high school and not receiving a high school diploma is a problem that our country is facing (Townsend, Flisher, and King 2007:295). Recent data shows that there is about a 12 percent dropout rate and that the dropout rate of more secluded areas can increase to about 20 or even 40 percent (Hardre and Reeve 2003:347). Why are high school students still dropping out of school? What are the factors that contribute to high school students dropping out of school? Finally, how can this issue be further researched?

The literature review topic that I have chosen deals with the factors that contribute to the United States high school dropout rate. There has been a considerable amount of research concerning the factors that affect high school dropout rates. The factors include changes in family structure and income, relationship with parents due to changes in family structure, teacher support, motivation, and school performance, substance use and abuse, and finally residential location. It is hypothesized that these factors will increase the likelihood of a high school student in the United States to dropout. The topic is sociologically relevant because pursuing an education is a social norm; therefore dropping out is breaking that social norm. The topic is also sociologically relevant because it creates awareness towards the factors that lead to dropping out of high school in the United States and continued research could potentially prevent future students from dropping out of school.