Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanic ‘Disconnected Youth’ Numbers Improve

Source: Flickr/ via Derek Mindler (CC BY 2.0)

Fewer Hispanic 18- and 19-year-olds are disconnected from school and jobs than before the Great Recession, a new Pew Research Center analysis of federal data shows. 

The percentage of Hispanic youth who are unemployed and not enrolled in school is the lowest it has been in 10 years, with a dramatic drop from 21 percent in 2009 to 16 percent in 2014.

According to Pew’s comparison of white, black and Hispanic 18- and 19-year-olds, Hispanics were the only group to see numbers dip below pre-recession levels last year. Reasons for this include declining unemployment and high school dropout rates for Hispanic youth as well as gains in college enrollment

(Note: For it’s analysis, Pew did not include the number of youths in prison or serving in the military.)

A report released in January by Measure of America, a project of the Social Science Research Council, reveals 5.5 million Americans between the ages of 16-24 are disconnected from work and school. The report examines the demographics of these detached youth in the nation’s most populous metro areas.

The metro area with the highest percentage of Latino youth who were unemployed and out of school — as of the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey on which the study was based – was Providence, Rhode Island at 27.2 percent. The Hartford, Connecticut area was second with a 25 percent figure. St. Louis, Phoenix and New Haven, Connecticut were also among the five metro areas with the highest percentages of Latino disconnected youth.  

The District of Colombia and surrounding cities Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia had the lowest percentage of Latino disconnected youth at 10.3 percent. Other metropolitan areas with the least disconnection among Latino youth — though not necessarily true for other demographic groups — were the areas of Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California at 11.1 percent; San Jose-Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, California at 12.2; Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas at 12.3; and Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton, Pennsylvania at 13.3. Chicago and Los Angeles were among the top 10.

Pew ends its analysis:

The data also show young adults ages 18 and 19 are nearly four times as likely as those ages 16 and 17 to be detached from school and work. In addition, there are few differences by race and ethnicity in the share who are detached among 16- and 17-year-olds. However, over the past 30 years young people have become increasingly likely to enroll in school or work. Regardless of race or ethnicity, the share of detached youth ages 18 to 19 was higher in 1985 (the furthest back in time that published tables go) than in 2014. Overall, 17 (percent) of youth were detached in 1985, encompassing 14 (percent) of whites, 30 (percent) of blacks and 24 (percent) of Hispanics.