Zeroing In on Place and Race: Youth Disconnection in America’s Cities

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Author(s): Measure of America

  • Kristen Lewis
  • Sarah Burd-Sharps
  • Patrick Nolan Guyer | CHIEF STATISTICIAN
  • Bob Land | COPY EDITOR
  • Alex Powers | RESEARCHER
  • Diana Tung | REPORT DESIGNER

Published: June 10, 2015

Report Intro/Brief:
Zeroing In on Place and Race is an in-depth look at how disconnected youth are faring in America’s cities, with data included on disconnected youth by state, congressional district, county, gender, and by race and ethnicity. Disconnected youth are teenagers and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither working nor in school. There are 5,527,000 disconnected youth in America today, or one in seven young adults (13.8 percent)—about as many people as live in Minnesota. The national disconnected youth population is larger than the populations of thirty US states.


  • The rate of youth disconnection has fallen since the Great Recession. Roughly 280,000 fewer young people are disconnected today than in 2010, the peak year for youth disconnection during the last decade. Beneath the national rate of 13.8 percent, however, lies staggering variation.
  • Of the ninety-eight major metro areas included in this report—home to two in three Americans— disconnection rates range from under 8 percent in the Omaha, Nebraska, and Bridgeport, Connecticut, metro areas to over 20 percent in greater Lakeland, Florida; Bakersfield, California; and Memphis, Tennessee.”



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