Fifteen percent of youth ages 16 to 24 nationwide are both unemployed and not in school, a new study shows. Today, the Opportunity Nation coalition released a report and searchable map that provides recent economic, education and community-based information for geographic regions across the country. The Opportunity Index scores both states and individual counties based on opportunities for advancement and social mobility.
Within that 15 percent of youth, the counties with the lowest indicators, both at 34.8 percent, were Apache County and Navajo County, Ariz. Both are counties with large Native American populations. The index does not disaggregate information related to race or ethnicity, and instead focuses on specific economic conditions in geographic regions. But overlaying their opportunity maps over others charting race and ethnicity shows what you might expect—the lower half of the U.S., which includes the most racially and ethnically diverse states in the country, scored lowest for opportunities. And specific areas with the high levels of income inequality also scored particularly low. The study indicates that economic conditions faced by U.S. families, 49 percent of which are living in poverty according to this report, is also limiting opportunities for the next generation.