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Cascade: No. 90, Winter 2016

Mapping Our Community: Youth, Education, and the Labor Force*

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Some workforce development programs specifically target people 16 to 24 years of age who are neither in school nor successfully participating in the labor market. Efforts to reengage youth in either school or work could yield long-term dividends for the individuals as well as for their communities.

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A recent report by Measure of America estimates that in the U.S., roughly 13.8 percent of those in this age range were not in school and were either unemployed or had dropped out of the labor force in 2013. Referred to as “disconnected youth” in this report and “opportunity youth” in other quarters, this definition includes about 5.5 million youths nationally and describes more than 19 percent of those in this age range in West Virginia and Louisiana, but well under half that level in Nebraska, North Dakota, and a number of other states. As for the states covered by the Third Federal Reserve District, the percentage of youths meeting this definition was near the national average in Pennsylvania (13.3 percent) but was substantially higher in Delaware (15.4 percent) and lower in New Jersey (12.1 percent).

  • * The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia or the Federal Reserve System.
  • Note: Not shown on the map, the estimates for Alaska and Hawaii were 14.2 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively.
  • Data source: Estimates are provided in Zeroing In on Place and Race: Youth Disconnection in America’s Cities, written by Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps and published in 2015 by Measure of America, a project of the Social Science Research Council. The Lewis and Burd-Sharps report is available at https://www.measureofamerica.org/youth-disconnection-2015/ External Link. The estimates are based on an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample file and were replicated by the author.
  • Map sources: U.S. Census Bureau; Esri, derived from Tele Atlas