Opportunity Youth in America: Get the Facts

March 9, 2018

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Across America, there are 4.6 million "Opportunity Youth," young people ages 16 to 24 are not in school and not working. That's 11.7 percent of all young people in that age group, according to the latest data.

It's important to understand the real numbers - and to understand the human stories behind each number, as well as the structural and systemic conditions surrounding these numbers. 

Why the term "Opportunity Youth"?

Members of our campaign partner Opportunity Youth United put it best: Those of us who have spent time out of school and out of work—formerly called "at-risk" or "disconnected"—appreciate the new language that has emerged: “Opportunity Youth.”  It accurately reflects the twin facts that we are seeking opportunity and that we offer a major opportunity to our nation if it will invest in us and our peers.

The Big Picture

One of the best ways to get the facts and understand who, where and why is through Measure of America, which tracks and reports on Opportunity Youth.

MOA-dataMeasure of America's latest report, More Than A Million Reasons For Hope finds good news and not-so-good news Overall, the number of young people who are disconnected has dropped steadily in the past six years, and is down by 20 percent overall. Yet some groups of Opportunity Youth experience larger disconnection rates than others. Young people—particularly young men—of color, youth living in poverty or with a disability, and young mothers are all far more likely to be disconnected than their peers.

While 38 states experienced a significant improvement in the past six year, progress is uneven: rural areas continue to struggle the most with youth disconnection, experiencing significantly higher rates than other community types.

In addition to the national data, Measure of America's interactive data tool lets you drill down to see how your state and community are doing.  Click the image below to check out the interactive data tool:

Measure of America

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