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No longer a strictly urban problem, "disconnected youth" populations explode in rural areas

Marion Doss
Flickr Creative Commons

In recent eras, America’s big cities grappled with large numbers of young people who weren’t in school and didn’t have jobs.

But in the last five years, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the population of these so-called “disconnected youth” has exploded in rural areas. In fact, the number of such youths in rural areas has overtaken the rate in urban areas, leading many lawmakers in the heartland scrambling to figure out how to get these residents educated and working.

Nationwide, America has almost 5 million disconnected youth in all types of communities. These young people cost American taxpayers close to $100 billion dollars per year in lost revenue and increased social service spending.

In a recent report by the nonprofit group Measure of America, about one in five young people in extremely urban areas were determined to be disconnected youths.