The Tragic Geography of Disconnected Youth

Richard Florida, The Atlantic Cities, September 14, 2012

More than one in seven young Americans are “disconnected” from work and from school, according to a report released Thursday by the Social Science Research Council’s Measure of America project.

The report (PDF) is based on data from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey, and looks specifically at the numbers of young people aged 16 to 24 who are neither working nor enrolled in school. The report tracked the data for the U.S. as a whole, in comparison to other countries, by race, and for the 25 largest metro areas as well as neighborhoods within cities.

Nationally, over 5.8 million young people (almost 15 percent) are disconnected—a figure that grew by 800,000 as a result of the economic crisis, according to the report.

Globally, the U.S. has a higher rate of youth disconnection than many advanced nations, including the United Kingdom (13.4 percent), Austria (11.4 percent), Canada (10.5 percent), Germany (9.5 percent), Norway (9.2 percent), Finland (8.6 percent), Switzerland (6.8 percent), Denmark (5.7 percent), and the Netherlands (4.1 percent).

Youth disconnection varies substantially by race. More than one in five (22.5 percent) young African-Americans are disconnected, 18.5 percent of Latinos, 11.7 percent of whites, and just 8 percent of Asian-Americans.

There is considerable variation by location as well. The table below, from the study, shows the top 25 large metros ranked by the percentage of disconnected youth, broken down by ethnicity. {snip}



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  • British public discourse calls these teenagers and young adults “Not in Education, Employment or Training,” or NEETs. The rough American equivalent is the high school dropout rate, but it’s not a perfect analogue because it is presumed (or was in the past presumed) that some high school dropouts would find at least menial work. NEET is a better measure of outright idolence. This study seems to be almost a spot-on equivalent of the British NEET metric.

    The usual racial ratio presents: Blacks > Hispanics > Whites > Asians. Therefore, the more black and/or Hispanic a metro area is known to be, the higher its NEET rate will be. But I also notice that there is a noticeable but not totally linear correlation between the white NEET rate and the black/Hispanic population of the metro area, except if the metro area is known for having a lot of colleges and universities. I think the answer to that riddle is that the increased competition from black and Hispanic non-young adults (25+) crowds out the low end of the job market for young whites, and they’re not in school because they’ve either given up or they can’t hack it, which would be the case even without the NAM competition. But for the NAMs, the dropout whites wouldn’t be in school but they would have menial jobs, which means they would be in the dropout rate but not the NEET rate. In the “college” type metro areas, like Boston and San Francisco, white NEET rates are low in spite of the sizable Hispanic populations in the area in general and the high Hispanic NEET rates, because more colleges means more whites in college meaning that by definition they’re not NEETs. Boston and Phoenix both have lots of Hispanics, but the white NEET rate is higher in Phoenix than in Boston because Phoenix has only one major university, Arizona State, while Boston has major universities out the yin yang. Therefore, a 16-24 yo white Phoenician is less likely to be in college than a 16-24 yo white Bostonian, which means the Hispanic labor market competition that is present in both metro areas matters more to 16-24 yo white Phoenicians than to 16-24 yo white Bostonians, and therefore, the former is more likely than the latter to be a NEET.

    • Puggg

      But this “Neet” measure is flawed.  A 16-year old black flipping burgers and a 24-year old white graduate student in S.T.E.M. are both not Neets for the purposes of this survey, but they’re not the same people and not worth the same to the future of society.

      • The Worlds Scapegoat

         But in the future, both will be paid the same.

        • The__Bobster

          Some of the displaced STEM graduates already are.

  • That same troubling graphic again. You see it in crime statistics, academic achievement, prison populations, drug use, poverty, unemployment, unwed mothers etc. Blacks and Hispanics always produce the worst statistics followed by Whites then Asians.

    The only intelligent answer is some unfortunate mix of DNA and culture. But if you ask a liberal.. tah-dah: it’s racism. Never once can they explain how Asian minorities can escape that supposed invisible plague that lurks in every crevice of American Society. Doesn’t matter; a liberal never let’s facts and logic get in the way of the agenda.

  • haroldcrews

    Apparently the Hispanic teens are not doing the jobs white teens won’t do.

    • The__Bobster

      Only the first generation does that. The second generation adopts the Bantu lifestyle.

  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    With all these people unemployed, why are we still importing more garbage and promoting more welfare births.

    • So they will vote for the Dear Leader and his Party.

    • NM156

      Because they grow the economy, SILLY. Haven’t you heard of that economic powerhouse Paraguay yet? Sheesh…

  • Defiant White

    I think “disconnected” is a nice term for the negro.  Once you pluck one out of the jungle, they really do need a strong hand . . . like a white plantation overseer, a white factory boss or a white policeman.

    Once you gibbs them dey freedom, they’re lost in the white world and they float around until they either end up dead or in prison where once again, they’re under white control.

    Disconnected.  Good word.

  • anarchyst

    It’s easy . . . most blacks consider studying diligently, getting good grades, and exhibiting good behavior in school to be “acting white”.  Such behavior (acting white) is looked down upon by themselves, their peers and even their parents . . .
    This is the root of the problem and will never be solved by sitting next to white students.  Segregation with teaching methods effective to blacks is the way . . .

    • Puggg

      Good kids plus bad kids rarely makes bad kids good, it’s far more likely to make good kids bad.  Putting a smart white next to a dumb black is far more likely to hinder the educational progress of the smart white.

  • jedsrael

    The Geography of Obama’s Civilian Army:

    Google Street View Camera Captures the Business End of a Gun

    “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

    • Puggg

      Gathering ruin porn has its risks.

      The reason the young men on that porch were none too happy with the car’s presence is probably because they never witnessed anything like it on their block.  We fear that which we do not know, and this car gathering street images for Google was probably the nicest car that drove down that block in the conscience memory of these residents that wasn’t owned by a drug dealer.

      • jedsrael

        You hit on an endemic characteristic of black privilege Diversity: it simply doesn’t understand Western Civilization and White culture, and acting as any feral voodoo would, it’s first reaction is to kill.

  • Bannister

    It’s time for Whites to “disconnect” themselves from Blacks and Hispanics. 

  • This_Name_Doesnt_Exist

    Something about this is fishy to me.  Maybe I’m missing something in how these numbers are crunched, but how does Seattle end up above Tampa-St. Pete, when the white number is identical, hispanics differ by two tenths of a percent but Seattle has a ten percentage point lead in idle blacks?  Is this because of the large difference in total number of blacks between the two cities, when factored into the final tally?

    Also, this: …data unavailable because there are too few 16- to 24-year olds to allow for reliable calculations

    …is ridiculous, because Seattle is overflowing with Asians by US standards.  They’re almost 14 percent of the population.  I see Asian kids in this age group all over the place.

  • AngloKraut

    One of my best friends fits this profile: Asian, unemployed, and not in school. We both graduated from the same college, but while I went to better myself, he went to keep his health insurance–a good reason for a person with Type I diabetes, and a palsy of some kind that makes him unable to drive–but he can’t find work in his area without experience, and he’s really not interested in going for a bachelor’s degree. In his words, his grades are good enough if he only applied with his name, which is Western; if he had to give his race, he’s not good enough when compared to other Asians. 

    As a friend, this is really frustrating for me to watch, but all I can do is lead by example, and apply to universities, hold a job, and remind him that he will age out of Obamacare eventually.

  • Goetz von Berlichingen

    It wouldn’t matter.  In addition to needing the mathematics skills you mention, precision work also requires close attention to detail that most of the diversitoids will simply never possess.  Moreover, acquiring that attention to detail in their work would require them to be able to accept criticism without their flying off the handle at being “disrespected”.  The bottom line is that most of them seem to think that being able to read well enough to understand the average television commercial qualifies them to be CEO of Boeing, Motorola or Intel, that they’re being cheated by not having those jobs, and that putting in the work necessary to acquire any genuine professional skills is time they could better spend listening to profanity-laced “music” and drinking malt liquor.