Violence, Poverty And Early Pregnancy: These States Have The Most ‘At-Risk’ Youth, According To Study


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A study released Tuesday found that 12.6% of America’s youth are neither working nor attending school, while others are suffering from poor health related to their physical and social growth.

WalletHub found that Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia and Wyoming are the top five states with the most idle youth in a study of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Massachusetts ranked as having the lowest percentage of idle youth.

Alaska had the highest rates of idle youth, followed by West Virginia, Mississippi, Nevada, Louisiana, and New Mexico, WalletHub discovered.

New Mexico, Louisiana, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Arizona had the highest rates of young people without a high school diploma, the study continued. Hawaii had the lowest percentage of youth without a high school diploma, according to the results.

Between 2010 and 2019, youth idleness (or “disconnection”) dropped by 27%, largely due to a steady increase in youth employment after the 2008 Great Recession, Measure of America noted. Research suggests that when young people grow up in environments with economic problems and the lack of a role model, they’re at a heightened risk of poverty, early pregnancy and violence, according to a study cited by WalletHub.

The environment for young Americans in 2022 is growing in difficulty, WalletHub stated, largely due to rapidly increasing inflation and the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team used 16 key metrics to establish the highest risk factors for American youth (those aged 16 to 24 years old), according to the study. (RELATED: Six Major US Cities Report Historic Increases In Violent Crime)

Those metrics were broken into two categories: health, and education and employment, WalletHub noted. Health was broken down into the share of the young population with vaccinations; obesity; illicit drug use; heavy drinking; depression; and physically, mentally and emotionally inhibited youth, WalletHub continued.

Education and employment metrics included: disconnected youth; youths with no high school diploma; labor force participation; Armed Forces Qualification Test score; poverty; teen pregnancy; homelessness; and presence of programs related to foster care, detention and incarceration.

Overall, southern states have the highest rates of idle youth over the last decade, according to the graphic shared by WalletHub.

rankings 2009 2019 disconnected youth