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New study reveals near 15 percent of youth are 'disconnected', cost taxpayers $93 billion

In the new report conducted by Measure of America titled One in Seven: Ranking Youth Disconnection in the 25 Largest Metro Areas, researchers found that one in seven (5.8 million) Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are not enrolled in school or employed. Referred to as “disconnected”, this group of young people are estimated to cost taxpayers $93.7 billion in government support and lost tax revenue.

According to the report, more than one in four African American youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in Seattle are unemployed and out of school.

Here’s what the report had to say about Seattle,

“Seattle’s rate of youth disconnection is the same as the national average of 14.7 percent. In terms of education in the metro area today, Seattle boasts a highly educated population, with 37 percent of adults having a bachelor’s degree or more. However, without concerted attention, Seattle’s positioning as a city with a competitive workforce is in jeopardy: far too many young people in the 16-to-24 age range have left school, with a dropout rate of over 18 percent. While the overall rate is at the national average, African American disconnection in Seattle is astonishingly high, at 26.9 percent. More than one in four African Americans in Seattle are unmoored from school and work.”

Seattle, along with Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Phoenix, have the highest rate of African American youth disconnection in the country. Nationally, African American youth have a disconnect rate of 22.5 percent. The metro areas of Boston, New York, and Phoenix have the highest disconnection rates for young Latinos. Latino youth have the second highest national disconnection rate at 18.5 percent.

Researchers point to shifts in the labor market as a possible reason for such high unemployment among youth. Unlike a few decades ago, most sustainable jobs require some sort of post secondary degree or certificate. Ensuring that all kids have access to a high quality education programs like early learning and dropout prevention as well as career pathways are important tools in preventing youth disconnection.

Read the full report here. Read the Education Week coverage here.

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