Nearly 5 Million Young Americans Are Not Working or in School

Posted March 9, 2017, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

In 2015, the last full year that data is available, 12% of all youth between the ages of 16 and 24 weren’t in school or working.

It is the first year since the great recession that the disconnection rate among young Americans is below pre-recession levels. Even so, there are 4.9 million disconnected youth in America today.

Young adults who fall on the higher end of this age range seem to be faring worse, according to the KIDS COUNT Data Center. The disconnection rate among 20- to 24-year-olds is 16%, which is more than double the 7% disconnection rate experienced by 16- to 19-year-olds.

At the state level: Eight states have reported a disconnection rate of 20% or higher among youth ages 20 to 24. These states are: Mississippi (23%), New Mexico (22%), West Virginia (22%), Alabama (21%), Louisiana (21%), Arkansas (20%), Georgia (20%) and South Carolina (20%).

Just one state — North Dakota — has reported a single digit disconnection rate (9%) for youth ages 20 to 24.

Disconnecting from school and work at an early age can have long-term financial consequences. Detached youth need academic and professional on-ramps to reconnect to vital skills, knowledge and networks that can help them achieve financial stability and success.

Youth not attending school and not working, 16 to 24 year olds

Get more economic well-being data — at the state and national level — in the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

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