Youth, Disconnected: Coronavirus Leaves Some Behind

By April Simpson 


The rate of disconnected youth declined from 14.7% in 2010 to 11.5% in 2017, thanks to a growing economy and successful high school retention efforts. But the youth disconnection rate tends to track closely with the national unemployment rate, which J.P. Morgan predicts will skyrocket to around 15%. Some economists expect the rate to eventually exceed a Great Depression-like 25%. 

The challenges are most severe for rural, black and Native American populations, who are over-represented in the disconnected population. Before the pandemic, nearly a quarter of Native American youth were disconnected. The rate among African Americans was 18%.

The rates were lower among Hispanics (13.2%), whites (9.4%) and Asian Americans (6.6%), according to Measure of America.

“When the economy reopens, it will not necessarily be reopening for these young people,” said Kisha Bird, director of youth policy for the nonpartisan Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C., a think tank focused on low-income people.


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