15% of youth are ‘disconnected’

More than one in seven young Americans are “disconnected” from work and from school, according to the Social Science Research Council‘s Measure of America report. Almost 15 percent of Americans aged 16 to 24 are heading nowhere.

Globally, the U.S. has a higher rate of youth disconnection than many advanced nations, including the United Kingdom (13.4 percent), Austria (11.4 percent), Canada (10.5 percent), Germany (9.5 percent), Norway (9.2 percent), Finland (8.6 percent), Switzerland (6.8 percent), Denmark (5.7 percent), and the Netherlands (4.1 percent).

While 22.5 percent of young African-Americans and 18.5 percent of Latinos are disconnected, the number drops to 11.7 percent for whites, and just 8 percent for Asian-Americans.


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  1. Katie Jones says:

    These statistics are sad and unfortunate. I wonder if the state of the economy plays a role in these results.

  2. I’m betting that these “disaffected” ones are disproportionately likely to be the disruptive teenagers who are doing their level best to interfere with the learning opportunities for their classmates.

    We need to drop the required schooling age to 14 or completion of 8th grade, whichever comes first. Return real educaton to the k-8 years, particularly in ES (which now seems to establish no foundations whatsoever). Letting incoming HS kids choose from a variety of high-quality vo-tech programs, as well as college prep and general programs, would also be highly desirable. Although academic classes could remain in the HS, the actual vo-tech classes should be through a CC or equivalent – to avoid the “highly-qualified” ed world credentialism. There’s no reason an instructor in auto mechanics, cosmetology or OR tech should need a college degree, let alone ed courses, and lots of reasons to avoid such nonsense.

  3. Comparing a very large country with a growing population to a handful of small, ethnically homogenous European countries with stable populations makes little sense. Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Norway all have populations at or below 8 million people. The US has 313 million people.

    It would be more appropriate to compare the US to Europe as a whole. I hear certain countries have lots of disconnected youth (Spain, Greece, Italy, etc.) As a matter of fact, the US youth do (comparatively) well, when comparing apples to apples:

    From the Wall Street Journal of September 4th, 2012: The Geneva-based agency of the United Nations projects that 15-to-24 year-olds in the 17-member economic bloc will face jobless rates of nearly 22% in 2013 that will dip modestly to 21.4% in 2017. In the U.S., youth unemployment is forecast to fall from 17.4% this year to 13.3% in 2017. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444301704577631391024255180.html

  4. Michael E. Lopez says:


    What a god awful word choice for “unemployed and not in school.”

    How about “Idle”?

  5. Strange how, when broken down by race, these percentages show what each subculture in this country values… And this won’t change until we change these subcultures. Period.