With about one in nine young Americans today neither working nor in school, exposing them to greater risk of poverty and violence, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2020’s States with the Most At-Risk Youth.

California ranks first for having the highest percentage of homeless youth. That should come as no surprise.

Data from Riverside County’s annual 2020 Point in Time survey, which was released in May, show the homeless youth population has increased by 41 percent and that one in five unsheltered persons reported losing their housing over the past year.

Riverside County and the University of California, Riverside (UCR), this week, released their January 29, 2020 survey findings. This survey identified 2,884 homeless adults and youths—a nearly 3 percent increase of 73 people who became homeless in Riverside County since the 2019 count.

“The numbers of youth, and newly homeless people – counted before the impact of COVID-19 pandemic—should concern us all,”  Natalie Komuro, deputy county executive officer for Homelessness Solutions, said at the time.

To determine where young Americans are not faring as well as others in their age group, especially in a year made extremely stressful by the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 16 key indicators of youth risk. The data set ranges from share of disconnected youth to labor force participation rate among youth to youth poverty rate.

At-Risk Youth in California (1=Most at Risk; 25=Avg.):

  • 20th – % of Disconnected Youth
  • 35th – % of Youth Without a High School Diploma
  • 30th – % of Overweight & Obese Youth
  • 16th – % of Youth Drug Users
  • 4th – Youth Labor Force Participation Rate
  • 38th – Youth Poverty Rate

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.

To see which states have the most and least at-risk youth, check out the video.

Adam McCann, a financial writer for WalletHub, writes that, 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 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the job market, caused schools to be held online and kept people far more isolated than usual. The pandemic is also a cause of severe stress, and some youth may not have anyone to turn to for support.

For the full report, please click here.


Image Sources

  • At-risk-youth: Shutterstock