The Tragic Geography of Disconnected Youth

https://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517GCJM7T9L._SL500_AA300_.jpgNational Journal — More than one in seven young Americans are “disconnected” from work and from school, according to a report released Thursday by the Social Science Research Council‘s Measure of America project.

The report (PDF) is based on data from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey, and looks specifically at the numbers of young people aged 16 to 24 who are not working nor enrolled in school. The report tracked the data for the U.S. as a whole, in comparison to other countries, by race, and for the 25 largest metro areas as well as neighborhoods within cities.

Nationally, over 5.8 million young people (almost 15 percent) are disconnected — a figure that grew by 800,000 as a result of the economic crisis, according to the report.

Globally, the U.S. has a higher rate of youth disconnection than many advanced nations, including the United Kingdom (13.4 percent), Austria (11.4 percent), Canada (10.5 percent), Germany (9.5 percent), Norway (9.2 percent), Finland (8.6 percent), Switzerland (6.8 percent), Denmark (5.7 percent), and the Netherlands (4.1 percent).

Youth disconnection varies substantially by race. More than one in five (22.5 percent) young African-Americans are disconnected, 18.5 percent of Latinos, 11.7 percent of whites, and just 8 percent of Asian-Americans.

Phoenix, Arizona, has the highest rate of disconnected youth, at 18.8 percent. Miami is second (17.1 percent), and Detroit third (17.0 percent). These three metros, so hard hit by the economic collapse, attest to the lingering effects of the crisis on the economic status of young people. Seven of the 10 metros with the highest levels of disconnected youth are in the Sunbelt.

Youth disconnection varies substantially within cities and metros as well. Parts of the South Bronx have a rate of 35.6 percent — more than double that of the New York metro as a whole. In Los Angeles, the rate of youth disconnection in Watts is 25.1 percent, versus 3.5 percent in West L.A. (09/17/12)

More…