23 At-Risk Youth Statistics that Prove the Importance of Youth Development

Social Solutions Blog

23 At-Risk Youth Statistics that Prove the Importance of Youth Development

Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed. That’s why Youth Development is so important. The goal of Youth Development is to prepare and equip young people to meet the challenges of adulthood and achieve their full potential.

There are so many wonderful organizations around the world that change the lives of children every day through Youth Development. And their efforts are sorely needed. Here are just a handful of at-risk youth statistics that tell us just how critical Youth Development is.

There’s a Big Need for Youth Development

There are 74.2 million people under 18 in the United States. That’s 24% of the total population. (source)

Nearly 40% of children in the United States live in low-income families with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. (source)

There are 1.8 billion young people in the world. (source)

Nearly 87% of the world’s youths live in developing countries. (source)

Children from low-income families are more likely to:

  • have sex before age 16
  • become a gang member
  • attack someone or get into a fight
  • steal something worth more than 50 dollars
  • run away

At-Risk Youth and Education

12% of high school dropouts are unemployed. (source)

High-quality early childhood programs lead to income gains of 0.33% to 3.5% each year when the children become adults. (source)

High school dropouts are more than 8x as likely to commit crimes and serve prison time. (source)

Children from low-income families are more likely to start school with limited language skills, have less parental support with homework, and deal with more emotional and social problems that interfere with learning. (source)

If we were able to increase the current US graduation rate to 90%, an additional 219,000 students would receive diplomas. (source)

Only 1 in 10 youth from low-income families go on to graduate from a four-year college, compared with 28% of youth from middle-income families and 50% of youth from high-income families. (source)

Students who live in communities with high levels of poverty are 4x more likely to be chronically absent. Reasons for this include unstable housing, unreliable transportation, and a lack of access to health care. By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school. (source)

More At-Risk Youth Statistics

Children raised in poverty are more likely to lack the basics of food, clothing, adequate housing and health care. (source)

Nearly 45% of children living in poverty are overweight or obese compared with 22% of children living in households with incomes 4x the poverty level. (source)

7% of young women from low-income families have a child by age 18, compared to only 1% from high-income families. (source)

The top 5 US states with the most homeless youth are Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, and Washington D.C. (source)

Each year, approximately 20,000 youth will age out of the foster care system in the US. (source)

The Power of Youth Development

The positive outcomes to youth empowerment programs are improved social skills, improved behavior, increased academic achievement, increased self-esteem, and increased self-efficacy(source)

Young people who are surrounded by a variety of opportunities for positive encounters engage in less risky behavior and ultimately show evidence of higher rates of successful transitions into adulthood(source)

Research definitively shows that youth who have sufficient support from their families, schools, and communities develop the assets necessary to do well in life(source)

In Brooklyn, NY, a youth empowerment program that provided a comprehensive nutrition curriculum and an intensive regular exercise regimen resulted in an average weight loss of 20 pounds, bringing participating students into a healthy average BMI range(source)

Youth involved in 4-H, a US-based youth development program, are nearly 2x more likely to participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs during out-of-school time in Grades 10–12. (source)

10th grade girls involved in 4-H programming are 2x more likely to take part in science programs. 12th grade girls involved in 4-H programming are nearly 3x more likely to take part in science programs. (source)

We salute all the organizations, individuals, and volunteers that provide and support Youth Development programming around the world. You are improving the lives of children right now, which will better the world for generations to come!

Combining Stories and Data to Get 100% Buy-In from DonorsIf you want to better prove the impact of your Youth Development programs, you need to speak to your funders’ and donors’ whole brains. Check out the Combining Stories and Data to Better Prove Your Impact to learn how to better demonstrate all the good your organization does every day.

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