Education is essential to the future productivity of workers in the Metropolitan Detroit area, so determining what impacts high school graduation is vital to predicting the future success of our economy. This research investigates what key aspects in our society affect the high school graduation rate: poverty level, violent crime rate, student body, class size, local school taxes, and standardized test scores. Results from multiple regressions using school district and city data from the CCD and FBI suggest that poverty levels and violent crime in the Metro Detroit area significantly, negatively influence high school graduation rates. Reforms to public policy reducing crime and poverty rates in Metro Detroit could improve high school graduation rates and help minimize the potential for the Motor City to lose its cutting edge in the auto industry and help diversify Michigan’s future human capital.

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