To see how data on high school dropout rates are linked to particular locations within your state, check out the Midwest Education Atlas from REL Midwest. Geographic data displays in this new online repository map out dropout rate data across several district-level background variables, such as poverty level, minority enrollment, and mother’s education level.

Using publicly available data sources and geographic information system (GIS) technology, the REL Midwest team created a set of maps for six Midwest states, including Illinois and Wisconsin. Data sources included state education agency websites, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Common Core of Data. The site also provides links to related topical resources.

These dropout rate maps grew out of REL Midwest’s support of statewide and citywide summits on high school dropout prevention and have helped frame conversations on dropout prevention in communities across the Midwest. Reducing the number of students who drop out of school each year is an important issue in the Midwest, as underscored by such state initiatives as Every Child a Graduate in Wisconsin and the Superintendent’s Dropout Challenge in Michigan.

Each map contains a link to an interactive, downloadable PDF that allows users to hide or show various layers of information and zoom in or out on specific regions in the state. Materials illustrate geographic patterns and do not provide or imply causal links or relationships in the data.

REL Midwest plans additional topics for release on a quarterly basis. Among the topics in review are state student achievement data, school funding and finance, and urban/rural distinctions. If you have a topic you’d like to suggest, please e-mail

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