Sunday, July 30, 2017

State Ranking: At-Risk Youth

With about one in eight young Americans today neither working nor in school, exposing them to risk of negative outcomes in adulthood that cost society billions of dollars each year, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2017's States with the Most At-Risk Youth.

To determine where young Americans are not faring as well as others in their age group, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 10 key indicators of youth risk. The data set ranges from share of disconnected youth to labor force participation rate among youth to youth poverty rate.

 States with the Most At-Risk Youth States with the Least At-Risk Youth
 1Mississippi 42Rhode Island
 2Louisiana 43Vermont
 3New Mexico 44Massachusetts
 4Alabama 45Nebraska
 5West Virginia 46Wisconsin
 6Arkansas 47Minnesota
 7Oregon 48Iowa
 8Nevada 49New Hampshire
 9Oklahoma 50Utah
 10South Carolina 51North Dakota

Key Stats

  • Mississippi has the highest share of disconnected youth, 19.6 percent, which is 2.5 times higher than in Vermont, registering the lowest at 7.8 percent. 
  • Nevada has the highest share of youth without a high school diploma, 19.8 percent, which is 2.4 times higher than in Hawaii, registering the lowest at 8.1 percent. 
  • Louisiana has the highest share of overweight or obese youth, 59.4 percent, which is 2.2 higher than in the District of Columbia, registering the lowest at 27.4 percent. 
  • Colorado has the highest share of youth using drugs in the past month, 33.84 percent, which is 2.4 times higher than in South Dakota, registering the lowest at 14.14 percent. 
  • Nevada has the highest share of homeless youth, 0.55 percent, which is 27.5 times higher than in Mississippi, registering the lowest at 0.02 percent.

To view the full report and your state or the District’s rank, please visit: states-with-the-most-at-risk- youth/37280/

I had a chance to interview WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez to learn more.

1. What are some factors that contribute to the amount of at-risk youth in a state?

"The quality of education, or lack of education, is the number one factor that contributes to a larger number of at-risk youth. States like Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest rates of disconnected youth (youth not working and not in school), as well as the highest rates of youth without a high school diploma."

2. For states near the bottom of the list, what are some things people can do to help make improvements?

"Please note that the states near the bottom of the list are actually the states with the fewest at-risk youth. States near the top of the list can try to offer youth the tools they need to finish their education, like alternative/online high school options or work-study programs, so that they are able to be gainfully employed later in life."

3. How can families help prevent their kids from being at-risk?

"Parents should work together with teachers to become the third leg of a healthy education system at home. It's also important for parents to get involved in their children's diet at a young age, given the high obesity and overweight youth statistics analyzed."

4. Why is this data important to WalletHub?

"As a personal finance website, the financial aspect of this issue first caught our attention. Negative life outcomes in adulthood can cost society upwards of 9 billions dollars each year in health problems, social issues and even crime involvement. We wanted to break that down across the country to better shed light on states that are actively combating this, or those that could use improvement."

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