Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 3, No 1 (2013)

The Effect of High School Completion on Aboriginal Canadians: Measuring Financial & Health Outcomes

Romil Dharia


How can we explain the poor Aboriginal high school completion rates in Canada? Is completing high school "worth it" for Aboriginals? Using the Aboriginal Peoples Surveys from 2001 and 2006, this statistical investigation explores the role of financial incentives and health outcomes on high school completion rates for young, urban Aboriginals. Firstly, the labour market returns for completing high school are identified and measured. Significantly higher high school credential effects exist for Aboriginal females compared to Aboriginal males. The implications of the returns to a high school degree on pathways to post-secondary education are discussed. Secondly, it is reported that completing high school leads to a reduction of health conditions in an Aboriginal person's adult life. Significantly higher health outcome effects exist for Aboriginal males than females. This paper's principal finding is that low high school completion rates for Aboriginals cannot be explained by poor financial or health incentives. More research needs to be conducted to explore other channels that could explain the poor education investments by this marginalized Canadian subpopulation.


Aboriginal; Education; High School; Socioeconomic Health Modeling; Economics;

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