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2018’s States with the Most At-Risk Youth


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  • Adam McCann/ WalletHub

Graphic Courtesy Of WalletHub

Growing up can be hard. Without a stable home, positive role models and tools for success, many young Americans fall behind their peers and experience a rocky transition to adulthood. Today, about one in nine individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither working nor attending school. Others suffer from poor health conditions that hinder their ability to develop physically or socially.

Such issues not only affect young people later in life, but they also prove harmful to society as a whole. For instance, more than 70 percent of young adults today are ineligible to join the U.S. military because they fail academic, moral or health qualifications. Research shows that when youth grow up in environments with economic problems and a lack of role models, they’re more at risk for poverty, early pregnancy and violence, especially in adulthood.

To determine the places where young Americans are not faring as well as others in the same age group, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 14 key indicators of youth risk. Our data set ranges from share of disconnected youth to labor force participation rate among youth to youth poverty rate. Read on for our findings, insight into the future of America’s young population and a full description of our methodology.

Source: WalletHub
2018’s States with the Most At-Risk Youth WalletHubartwork-2018-youth-at-risk-v1

Infographic courtesy of WalletHub

Share of Disconnected Youth Over Time

2018’s States with the Most At-Risk Youth WalletHubrankings-2008-2016-disconnected-youth

Ask the Experts

Idleness and social disconnection are among the biggest problems for at-risk youths today. For advice on overcoming these challenges, we asked a panel of experts to share their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What can state and local policymakers do to reduce the number of rural youth who are disconnected from school and work?
  2. What is driving the higher levels of “idleness” among minority youth?
  3. What tips/advices you have for parents who have an adolescent who is disconnected — that is, dropping out of school and not looking for work? Where should they look for help?
  4. Do you believe that the economic policies enacted thus far by the Trump administration will increase or decrease the number of idle youth?

In order to determine where young Americans are most at risk of adverse outcomes in adulthood, WalletHub compared a sample comprising the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 14 key metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of youth risk.

Finally, we determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

  • Share of Disconnected Youth: Double Weight (~13.33 Points)
    Note: “Disconnected Youth” refers to the population aged 18 to 24 who are not attending school, not working and have no degree beyond a high school diploma.
  • Share of Youth with No High School Diploma: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Youth” refers to the population aged 18 to 24.
  • Share of NAEP-Proficient Students: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “NAEP-Proficient Students” refers to those who performed at or above the 8th grade math and 8th grade reading proficiency levels of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessments.
  • Share of Overweight & Obese Youth: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Youth” refers to the population aged 18 to 24.
  • Share of Youth Using Illicit Drugs in Past Year: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Youth” refers to the population aged 18 to 25.
  • Share of Youth Reporting Heavy Drinking: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Youth” refers to the population aged 18 to 24.
  • Share of Youth with Depression: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Youth” refers to the population aged 18 to 24.
  • Share of Physically, Mentally & Emotionally Inhibited Youth: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Youth” refers to the population aged 18 to 24 who are limited in any activities due to physical, mental and emotional problems.
  • Labor Force Participation Rate Among Youth: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Youth” refers to the population aged 16 to 24.
  • Share of AFQT Testers Scoring Above 50: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “AFQT Testers” refers to civilians who completed the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which covers four sections — Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning and Mathematics Knowledge — of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to assess a potential recruit’s military trainability and ability to enlist. The resulting score is a percentile, rather than an absolute, and indicates the recruit’s performance relative to 18- to 23-year-old civilians who completed the exam in 1997 as part of a norming study. The lower a tester’s score, the poorer is his or her trainability.
  • Youth Poverty Rate: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Youth” refers to the population aged 18 to 24.
  • Share of Homeless Youth: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: “Youth” refers to the population aged 18 to 24.
  • Presence of “State Tuition Waiver Programs” for Youth in Foster Care: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
  • Rate of Youth Detained, Incarcerated or Placed in Residential Facilities per 100,000: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
    Note: Persons under age 21 detained, incarcerated, or placed in residential facilities.

 

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Nation’s Report Card, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Priorities Project, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and National Conference of State Legislatures.