Overview

Youth Disconnection

One fundamental indicator of societal progress and well-being is how young people are faring in their transition to adulthood. And on this measure, 5.5 million young people are falling behind.

Disconnected youth are teenagers and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither working nor in school. There are 5,527,000 disconnected youth in America today, or one in seven teens and young adults (13.8 percent).

At the national level, youth disconnection rates for blacks (21.6 percent), Native Americans (20.3 percent), and Latinos (16.3 percent) are markedly higher than rates for Asian Americans (7.9 percent) or whites (11.3 percent). In nine metro areas, at least one in four black youth are disconnected. In ten metro areas, at least one in five Latino youth are disconnected.

Measure of America has, since 2013, been providing unique calculations of this population at the state, county, city, and neighborhood level, by race and ethnicity, and for young women and men in an effort to draw attention to this population and provide policymakers, business leaders, philanthropists, and community leaders with the up-to-date data they need to target their interventions and assess the effectiveness of their efforts. Data and analysis can be found here.

These vulnerable young people are cut off from the people, institutions, and experiences that would otherwise help them develop the knowledge, skills, maturity, and sense of purpose required to live rewarding lives as adults. And the negative effects of youth disconnection ricochet across the economy, the social sector, the criminal justice system, and the political landscape, affecting us all.

Measure of America’s Publications on Youth Disconnection

Zeroing In on Place and Race (2015)

Halve the Gap by 2030 (2013)

One in Seven (2012)

Youth Disconnection Data Tables (.xls)