Source: Social Science Research Council

A new report by the Social Science Research Council, “Zeroing in on Place and Race,” defines “disconnected youth” as Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither working nor in school. Disconnected youth, who consist disproportionately of minorities and the poor, are at higher risk for a variety of social pathologies such as criminal activity and teenage pregnancy. Their delay in acquiring workforce skills and experience portends ill for their longer-term earning prospects. Here are the numbers for Virginia’s largest metros (listed by their ranking among the nation’s 98 largest metros):



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  1. This is interesting, Jim, and I like the approach of comparing youth unemployment without regard for overall urban size. But a look at the source article shows some counterintuitive data.

    For example, L.A., CA is ranked 40th for “disconnectedness” nationally while Richmond, VA is 74th nationally with very similar numbers. Is this Richmond City only or the Richmond SMSA including Henrico and Chesterfield? Also, I don’t know what to make of the data including NoVa at 35th place — does this include the entire DC SMSA or just the cities of Washington+Alexandria+Arlington Co. as listed?

  2. larryg Avatar

    Good questions Acbar!

    This is one of the most important issues of our time on the same scale as the Gig economy but worse because all those GIG economy folks are going to end up paying entitlements or incarceration costs if we don’t do a better job with these “disconnected” kids.

    I think Hill City Jim made a comment recently about how you cannot give someone like an unemployed, perhaps never employed person – a job when they don’t even know or practice the importance of basic job requirements like showing up on time, doing what you’re directed to do, be trusted to do a good job and so on and so forth.

    And I reluctantly agree with him – with some caveats.

    it may well be that we have to offer free IUDs and summer jobs, the primary purpose is to train kids how to just do a job right.

    There are tons of things that need volunteers and a volunteer job – done well – is an important line on a resume… kids need to be taught that…

    we will NEVER reach all these kids – but the thing is – we do not want to be creating more and more of them – either.

    we have to design schools to train kids for jobs – even the ones destined for college but especially so the ones who likely are not headed to college.

    Every one of these kids that ends up being a medical technologist or home health care aide or even a uber driver is one less one getting drawn into the criminal justice system which today is little more than a govt-sponsored de-humanization program guaranteed to turn someone into a permanent ward and burden on society.

    It’s downright obscene that about 40% of our burgeoning prison population – the largest in the world – are largely minorities guilty of street drugs…

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