Disconnected Youth: A Look at 16- to 24-Year-Olds Who Are Not Working or In School


Congressional Research Service

This report seeks to create a specific characterization of disconnected youth for Congress to use in shaping policies toward this population.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), a department of the Library of Congress that provides research for Congress members and committees, defines disconnected youth as those who are 16 to 24 and who have not worked or been in school for at least one year. By this definition, 1.9 million youths, or 5.1 percent of this age group, were disconnected youths in 2008.

CRS did not include in its analysis youths who were incarcerated or homeless. Previous definitions of disconnected youth have included youths who were out of school and employment for only part of the past year.

CRS research showed that youths who qualified as disconnected tended to be female, minority and poor. Disconnected youth were also more likely to have fewer years of education, live apart from their parents and have children, compared with other youths in the same age group. Free, 82 pages. (202) 707-5700,



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