Chronic School Absence

The HCI Chronic School Absence indicator is measured by the proportion of students missing more than 10 percent of school days per year (based on public school attendance only). Chronic school absence is an indicator of student participation and engagement in the public school system. A strong link, independent of income, has been found between educational attainment and future health status. Increased school absence can predict problems learning and in academic performance, as well as lower standardized test scores and high school dropout rates. Chronic school absence has household, school, and community-level causes, including: community prevalence of chronic diseases such as asthma; quality and accessibility of the health care system; community safety; poverty and family circumstances; school social environment (e.g., bullying, stigma, discrimination); and social cohesion and trust. Although listed under Health Systems and Public Safety, chronic school absence has strong relevance to education, social cohesion, economic health, and employment. The indicator is an “inverse” measure, meaning that, the higher the value, the higher the negative impact on community health. Data on student attendance is available from all public schools.

Neighborhoodsort descending Indicator Value Rank
Blackstone 39.2% 23
Charles 34.4% 20
College Hill 32.5% 17
Downtown 33.9% 19
Elmhurst 29.5% 10
Elmwood 30.7% 14
Federal Hill 26.8% 2
Fox Point 37.6% 22
Hartford 25.2% 1
Hope 43.5% 25
Lower South Providence 30.4% 13
Manton 29.2% 8
Mount Hope 31.2% 15
Mount Pleasant 28.3% 4
Olneyville 29.0% 7
Reservoir 27.2% 3
Silver Lake 29.6% 11
Smith Hill 33.2% 18
South Elmwood 29.8% 12
Upper South Providence 29.4% 9
Valley 28.3% 4
Wanskuck 34.7% 21
Washington Park 31.3% 16
Wayland 39.2% 23
West End 28.7% 6

Key Citations:
1. Backlund E, Sorlie PD, Johnson NJ. A comparison of the relationships of education and income with mortality: the National Longitudinal Mortality Study. Soc Sci Med. 1999;49(10):1373-84.
2. Fowler MG, Johnson MP, Atkinson SS. School achievement and absence in children with chronic health conditions. J Pediatr. 1985 Apr;106(4):683-7.
3. Balfanz, R., & Byrnes, V. Chronic Absenteeism: Summarizing What We Know From Nationally Available Data. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools. 2012