1) You’re more likely to go to jail.
Most of the crimes committed are property crimes meaning that people commit the because they want or need money. 80% of the people in jail don’t have high school diplomas: people get desperate and do desperate things. Further, once you go to jail, it is even harder to get a well-paying job.
2) Your financial situation is going to be difficult.
The highest earning jobs are in a group that is called the STEM subjects. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Because people in other countries generally do better than American students in math and science in high school, you’re playing catch-up to compete with them when you get to college; therefore, if you quit high school, you’re all but guaranteed to be locked out of this type of work and a lower-income.
You’re going to face a situation whereby the number of people willing to do your job outnumbers the actual number of jobs wherein that skill is needed which means your wages will be lower. Essentially, there will be more nursing assistants than nursing assistant jobs which will mean that your pay will be low.
You’re going to earn less money in most of your jobs and over the course of your working life because of the low value placed on what you do because your work doesn’t require special skills or a particular level of education.
You’re going to regularly confront challenges with the type of work you do being sent to other countries. Essentially, if the work you do can be done for a lower wage by somebody in a different company, your employer just might send your job there.
You’re going to need public assistance for more basic needs and more frequently because it is going to be more difficult to find a job that will enable you to pay for the basic necessities of life.
The economy naturally experiences ups and downs; however, you’re going to feel it more than any other group when its down. Unemployment is always highest among people without a diploma, in both good times and bad times. But it does get worse in down times.
3) Your family is going to suffer. Parents who drop out are more likely to see their children drop out. You’re also more likely to be homeless and not get enough to eat. Your kids are likely to make bad grades and misbehave at school. Your neighborhood is likely to have more dropouts living in it which, alongside knowing your decision to quit, will make your children believe dropping out is acceptable and increase the chance that your kids are going to make the same bad choice that you did and repeat this pattern in their families.
4) You’re likely going to live in a rough neighborhood. “Rough neighborhood” translates into fewer playgrounds and parks, more litter and trash, more crime, and living around other poor people. Being poor doesn’t make your or someone else a bad person; however, poverty often drives people to live in stressful conditions which affects their mental health and habits. In addition, community features like clean and safe parks and playgrounds are paid for by property taxes. Property taxes are based on two things: how desirable it is to live in that neighborhood and the value of the houses and buildings in that neighborhood. If nobody wants to live in your neighborhood, it has reduced value. Mind you, people can actually live in your neighborhood, but not WANT to be there. So, if few people want to live in your neighborhood and most of the ones who do live there are poor, your local government collects fewer taxes; therefore, your neighborhood doesn’t have many features (also called amenities) like nice playgrounds and parks or services like people who come out to keep the parks clean.
5) You’re more likely to be unhealthy, overweight, and die earlier because you’re more likely to need to eat cheap food which is high in fat, sugar and calories, i.e., fast food. Long-term poor eating habits lead to diseases like diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, your children are more likely to be unhealthy because you are more likely to pass along your eating habits, even if your eating habits are bad because you’re broke. You’ll also have a greater chance of infections from being exposed to bugs like roaches and mice.
6) You’re more likely to be stressed out and depressed.
7) Politics will affect your life (like they do everybody else), but you’re not likely to feel empowered to respond to what’s happening to you. Politicians in the US have to balance the needs of corporations and social welfare. In many ways, “social welfare” really means how our government spends tax dollars to take care of everybody and maintain the military. Therefore, the social service programs that fill in the gaps for your income will always be up for discussion and always have the chance of disappearing. Since poor people are less likely to vote, chances are that you’ll feel discouraged, feel bad about yourself for needing social service assistance, and just accept the changes rather than argue that the changes are wrong or unfair.