Young people in Connecticut have a lower chance of being left behind compared to their peers in other states, according to a new report from WalletHub.
In the report, Connecticut ranks sixth among the best states for at-risk youth. Neighboring Massachusetts took the top spot, followed by New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, and Virginia. Louisiana ranked worst for at-risk youth, followed by Mississippi, West Virginia, Alaska, and New Mexico.
The report came to these numbers using a variety of statistics, including the number of young people (18-24 years of age) who had a high school diploma, the number with a high school diploma who were both unemployed and not seeking higher degrees, math and language rankings, unemployment, pregnancy, incarceration, and homelessness. It also factored in health conditions like obesity, depression, drug and alcohol use, and those who are inhibited by mental health issues or chronic illness.
A few interesting factors to consider? For one, the rate of at-risk youth correlates somewhat with the rate of poverty across the country. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Jersey all have relatively low rates of poverty (between 7 and 10%), while Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia have relatively high rates (between 16-20%).
Research has shown that young people who grow up in economically challenging environments tend to suffer later in life.
Meanwhile, rural areas are also falling far behind urban centers, according to WalletHub’s metrics.
“Many young rural Americans have historically benefited from gaining their early work experience by working in seasonal jobs,” says Angelique Day, Associate Professor at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. “However, many of these jobs are 40 or more miles away from a young person’s place of residence, and job training programs are also located far away, inhibiting these young people’s ability to participate. Public buses do not cross county lines, and these buses do not run frequently due to the cost constraints faced by rural areas.”
Additionally, states with higher ranked public school systems did better on average. New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are in the top three of K-12 systems, according to US News and World Reports. Lower ranked systems, however, did not correlate as directly, indicating that overall poverty and employment rates, as well as access to high paying jobs, may affect young people to a higher degree.