Fracking Linked to Drop-Out Rates

by Elizabeth Alford on July 23, 2015

A new study links the spread of fracking to increased drop out rates among high school males.

The fracking boom over the past decade has brought economic prosperity to many people, with some analysts predicting it will generate more than 600,000 jobs by 2020. It is no exaggeration to say that oil and gas fracking has transformed local economies in parts of the United States.

Related: Truck Driver Shortage Spreading Across the U.S.

Fracking has not only brought more jobs to some regions, but higher paying ones with little education requirements. This combination has proved too tempting to many teenager who give in to the lure of easy money now in exchange for their education.

Elizabeth Cascio and Ayushi Narayan recently published a paper that analyzes the impacts of fracking on educational attainment. The study’s authors concluded that fracking has generated increases in the demand for less-educated labor and has increased high school dropout rates of male teens.

“By increasing the relative demand for low-skilled labor, fracking thus has the potential to slow growth in educational attainment,” Cascio and Narayan wrote. “Such a phenomenon would work against broader economic trends both at the local level – where incomes may be rising due to fracking, especially among families whose children are more at risk of dropping out – and nationally – where technological change in other industries continues to favor the highly educated.”


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