“Detached youth” refers to young people ages 16 through 19 who are neither enrolled in school nor working. This detachment, particularly if it lasts for several years, increases the risk that a young person, over time, will have lower earnings and a less stable employment history than his or her peers who stayed in school and/or secured jobs.7
Since 1985, the percentage of detached youth has fluctuated between 8 and 11 percent (see Table SD 1.6). In 1999, 8 percent of all youth ages 16 through 19 were detached.
Differences by Sex. Young women are slightly more likely than young men to be detached from both school and employment. In 1999, 9 percent of young women, while 7 percent of young men experienced detachment.
Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin. Black and Hispanic youth are more likely than white youth to be detached from school and employment. In 1999, 13 percent of black youth and 14 percent of Hispanic youth experienced detachment. The corresponding rate for white youth was 6 percent.
Differences by Age. Youth ages 16 or 17 are more likely than 18- or 19-year-olds to be in school or working. In 1999, 13 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds were detached, while only 4 percent of their younger peers were detached.
7 Brown, B. 1996. Who Are America’s Disconnected Youth? Report prepared for the American Enterprise Institute.
Table SD 1.6 Percentage of 16- through 19-year-olds in the United States who are neither enrolled in school nor working,a by gender and by race and Hispanic originb and by age: Selected years, 1985-1999
|Race and Hispanic originb|
a The figures represent a yearly average based on responses for the 9 months youth typically are in school (September through May). Youth are asked about their activities for the week prior to the survey. Results are based on uncomposited estimates and are not comparable to data from published tables.
b Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Estimates for whites and blacks do not include persons of Hispanic origin.
c Data for 1994 and subsequent years are not strictly comparable with data for prior years, because of major revisions in the Current Population Survey questionnaire and data collection methodology, and because of the inclusion of the 1990 census-based population controls in the estimation process.
Source: Special tabulations of the Current Population Survey prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as published in America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2000. Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, Table ED5.
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