Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) September 13, 2012
Measure of America today released One in Seven: Ranking Youth Disconnection in the 25 Largest Metro Areas. The report examines 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in school and not working—5.8 million youth or an astonishing one in seven young people nationwide—and reveals startling gaps among neighborhoods, cities, and racial and ethnic groups. While the Boston metro area tops the list with the lowest overall rate of youth disconnection at 9%, Phoenix ranks last at 18.8%. African Americans have the highest rate of youth disconnection, a startling 22.5%, nearly twice the national average, and women generally fare better than men.
“One in Seven is a wake-up call to this country,” says Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-author of the study. “At precisely the time in life when young people form their adult identities and move towards self-sufficiency, 5.8 million young Americans are adrift at society’s margins. Disconnection can affect everything from earnings and financial independence to physical and mental health, and even marital prospects.”
As youth disconnection in America rises, so do the costs to society. Last year alone, youth disconnection cost taxpayers $93.7 billion in government support and lost tax revenue.
“Today we are paying for failure,” Burd-Sharps explains. “In an environment where everyone is looking to reduce spending, we can invest in success by pinpointing the groups and places being left behind, and taking action to build connections between communities and both educational and employment opportunities.”
Kristen Lewis, co-author of One in Seven, adds, “In the next five years, more than 29 million job openings will need to be filled by workers with some college or a certificate, but not necessarily a four-year degree.” She explains, “In today’s economy, everyone needs some education beyond high school, but as a society, we need to rethink the ‘college-for-all’ mantra that devalues and stigmatizes career and technical education. Instead, we should provide robust pathways to postsecondary certificates or associate degree programs for those who choose this route.”
Among the key findings from One in Seven:
Among the report’s key recommendations:
Measure of America is an initiative of the nonpartisan Social Science Research Council that seeks to use metrics on health, education, and living standards to provide deeper insights into American well-being than GDP reveals. This study was made possible by the generous support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
About Measure of America and the American Human Development Index
An initiative of the Social Science Research Council, Measure of America provides easy-to-use yet methodologically sound tools for understanding the distribution of well-being and opportunity in America and stimulating fact-based dialogue about issues we all care about: health, education, and living standards.
The hallmark of this work is the American Human Development Index. GDP tells us how the economy is doing. The American Human Development Index tells us how people are doing and empowers communities with a tool to track progress over time. The Index is comprised of health, education, and income indicators and allows for well-being rankings of the 50 states, 435 congressional districts, county groups within states, women and men, and racial and ethnic groups.
About the Authors
Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis are co-directors of Measure of America and authors of the Measure of America series of national and state reports. Previously, Sarah worked with the United Nations for more than two decades, most recently as Deputy Director of the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Prior to this, she worked in China and in a number of African countries on gender issues and economic empowerment. Sarah holds an M.I.A. from Columbia University. Kristen also comes from an international development policy background, having worked primarily in the areas of gender equality, governance, environment, and water and sanitation. Kristen is co-author, under the leadership of Jeffrey Sachs’ Millennium Project, of the 2005 book, Health, Dignity and Development: What Will It Take? She worked at the United Nations for some ten years and has served as a consultant for many international development organizations. Kristen also holds an M.I.A. from Columbia University.