WalletHub.com Adam McCann, Financial Writer | Jul 14, 2021
Growing up can be hard. Without a stable home, positive role models and tools for success, many young Americans fall behind their peers and experience a rocky transition to adulthood. Today, about one in nine individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither working nor attending school. Others suffer from poor health conditions that hinder their ability to develop physically or socially.
Such issues not only affect young people later in life, but they also prove harmful to society as a whole. For instance, more than 70 percent of young adults today are ineligible to join the U.S. military because they fail academic, moral or health qualifications. Research shows that when youth grow up in environments with economic problems and a lack of role models, they’re more at risk for poverty, early pregnancy and violence, especially in adulthood. The environment is even more difficult for these young Americans in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the job market, caused schooling to be held online in many cases and kept people more isolated than usual, though conditions are improving as the country reopens. The pandemic is also a big source of stress, and some youth may not have anyone to turn to for support.
To determine the places where young Americans are not faring as well as others in the same age group, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 15 key indicators of youth risk. Our data set ranges from the share of disconnected youth to the labor force participation rate among youth to the youth poverty rate.
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