OC graduation rates continue to rise — and exceed state averages

Orange County’s graduation rates continue to trend in the right direction.

Among OC students who started high school four years ago, more than 9 out of 10 graduated with their peers in 2020, according to figures released by the California Department of Education.

Graduate in car
A Brea Olinda High School graduate celebrates during a drive-through commencement ceremony in June 2020.

The county’s four-year graduation rate of 90.4 percent is up from 89.7 percent in 2019, and it tops the statewide average of 84.3 percent. Most local subgroups made gains, including English learners (78.3 percent), students with disabilities (75.2 percent) and more than 20,000 students classified as socioeconomically disadvantaged (86.9 percent).

Female students outperformed their male counterparts, with 92.1 percent graduating after four years compared to 88.7 percent.

“I could not be prouder of the students and educators of Orange County for continuing to raise the bar on achievement with increased graduation rates, even as we work to mitigate the most serious public health crisis of our lives,” Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares said.

“This pandemic will end, but the steps taken today to ensure students are equipped for the future will pay dividends for generations.”

State rates remains steady

Overall, California’s graduation numbers remained relatively steady in 2020, even as districts pivoted mid-year to distance learning models.

Though some groups experienced decreases across the state — including Asian, Filipino and White students — other populations, including some with the highest needs, saw their rates increase slightly, including American Indian or Alaska Native students, English learners, foster youth and students with disabilities.

“The COVID-19 crisis upended the senior years of hundreds of thousands of high school students throughout California,” State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said, “and I am proud of the resilience of these young adults and of the educators who went above and beyond to help keep them on track to graduate.”

We’ve got a breakdown for Orange County below, but you can view all state, county, district and school graduation and dropout data through the California Department of Education’s DataQuest website.


Orange County’s Four-Year Cohort Graduation Rates for 2019-20

Race / ethnicity Cohort students Total Grads Cohort grad rate Grads who met UC/CSU requirements
African American 619 530 85.6% 219
American Indian or Alaska Native 104 91 87.5% 46
Asian 6,751 6,391 94.7% 5,009
Filipino 964 929 96.4% 643
Hispanic or Latino 18,862 16,496 87.5% 7,013
Pacific Islander 160 145 90.6% 60
White 11,253 10,438 92.8% 6,485
Two or More Races 1,303 1,161 89.1% 724
Not Reported 227 186 81.9% 99
Orange County 40,243 36,367 90.4% 20,298
California 491,389 414,193 84.3% 210,692