Nearly 5 Million Young Americans Are Not Working or in School

Posted March 9, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog nearly5millionamericanyouth 2017

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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