Chronic absenteeism in Maine

Change Indicator

Why This Indicator Matters

Students who are chronically absent are less likely to read proficiently by third grade, more likely to fail in middle school and eventually drop out of high school. Chronic absence can be solved when schools, families, and communities work together to create a culture of attendance as early as preschool and kindergarten and regularly monitor progress and identify any barriers to getting to school. See Count ME In

What the data shows
The pandemic has had an effect on chronic absenteeism. Comparing 2018-2019 to two year later 2020-2021, the percent of students who were chronically absent rose from 16.8% to 20.8%. Among students who were economically disadvantaged, the rate rose even more- from 25.3% to 33.6%. Over 35,000 students, two thirds of whom come from families earning less than 185% of the federal poverty rate are chronically absent in Maine.

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Chronic absenteeism

Data Provided By


Chronic absenteeism is the number and percent of students in Maine who are chronically absent from school and this is disaggregated by whether the student's family is or is not economically disadvantaged. A student is defined as being chronically absent if the student is absent 10% or more of the days enrolled or for a typical school year at a rate which would lead to 18 or more absences, including both excused and unexcused absences.  Economically disadvantaged refers to students who live in families whose income is 185% or below federal poverty levels. This was $49,025 for a family of four persons in 2021. The year 2021 refers to the school year from September 2020- June 2021.

Data Source: Maine Department of Education ESSA Data Dashboard

Footnotes: New measure added September 2020.
Updated July 2022.