Change Indicator

Youth transitioning out of foster care: Highest level of educational attainment in United States

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Definition and Source



Of young people who were in foster care within 45 days following his/her 17th birthday and completed the NYTD Outcomes baseline or follow-up survey at ages 17, 19, or 21: the highest reported educational certification level the young person has achieved at the time of the survey. A young person received an educational certification if they had 
- A high school diploma or general equivalency degree (GED)
- A vocational certificate indicating the completion of education of training that qualifies the young person for a particular job
- A vocational license indicating the State or Local government has recognized the young person's qualifications in a particular trade or business
- An associates degree (A.A.), typically from a community college
- A bachelor's degree from a college or university
- A degree higher than a bachelor's degree, such as a Master's Degree or a Jurist Doctor (J.D.)

"None of the above" indicates that the young person has not received any educational certification at the time of the survey. 

Data Source

National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) - Outcomes File, Cohort Age 17 in FY2011, Waves 1-3 (2015).
NYTD data are used with the permission of Cornell University’s National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect website. The collector of the original data, the funding agency, NDACAN, Cornell University, and the agents or employees of these institutions bear no responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here.


S - Data suppressed due to a low number of respondents for an individual data point (<10) and/or a low number of overall respondents from a state/territory (<25).
Young people who are in foster care within 45 days following their 17th birthday are eligible to complete the NYTD Outcomes baseline survey. Those who complete the survey at 17 are eligible to complete follow up surveys at 19 and 21. Some states choose to sample from their baseline cohort (those who completed the survey at 17) for the follow up waves. Outcomes data in this file are self-reported, and young people may choose to decline to respond to any question in the survey.   

Last Updated

September 2020