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Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2018-05
Edward Berchick

A growing number of individuals in the United States have completed a high school equivalency degree, such as a General Education Development (GED) diploma. Although GED earners and traditional high school graduates are considered to have “equivalent” credentials and have attained identical years of schooling, they face disparate outcomes. For example, GED earners are less healthy than those who have high school diplomas and have health profiles that are generally indistinguishable from—if not worse than—those of high school dropouts. Yet little is known about how these trends may depend on where an individual lives, such as whether s/he lives in an area where GED receipt is common. The current paper investigates the ways in which a local context might modify the negative health outcomes associated with having a GED. Analyses use 2012-2016 five-year American Community Survey (ACS) data to examine geographic variation in the relationship between GED receipt and disability status.

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