BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — New York state's high school graduation rate continued its slow climb in 2016, when 79.4 percent of students earned a diploma after four years.

The graduation rate released Friday by the state Department of Education is 1.3 percent higher than the 78.1 percent for the class of 2015. State officials say black and Hispanic students and students in the bigger cities were among those making gains.

New York City's rate was just under 70 percent, up 2.4 percent from the previous year. Syracuse posted a 6.4 percent increase, to 61 percent, while the other so-called Big Five school districts of Buffalo, Rochester and Yonkers had graduation rates of 61.7 percent, 47.5 percent and 77.5 percent, respectively.

New York state has 2.6 million students in public schools. State data shows that more than half are considered economically disadvantaged.