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Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

An alarming report shows Rochester has a huge number of “disconnected youth.” These are young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not working and not in school. The report is by Measure of America.

In America, 13.8 percent – one in seven – people in this age group are disconnected. That’s 5.5 million people, equal to the population of Minnesota. Nationwide, 21.6 percent of black and 16.3 percent of Latino youth are disconnected.

In the Rochester metropolitan area, 13.4 percent of youth are disconnected. That’s on par with the national rate. It’s a large number: 21,701 young people. That’s slightly more people than live in the Town of Ogden.

Rochester’s black youth face a very high rate of disconnectedness: 30.8 percent, the third highest rate in the country. That means nearly one of three black young adults are not working and not going to school. The Latino rate is 23 percent. By any measure, this is a crisis.

But Rochester’s white youth are doing much better. Just under 10 percent of white youth are disconnected, compared to  the national rate of 11.3 percent.

Disconnected youth are more likely to live in poverty, drop out of high school, have a disability and have children at a young age.

Here’s why we should care, the authors of the report say:

The costs of disconnection are high, both for individuals and for society. Disconnected youth are cut off from the people, institutions, and experiences that would otherwise help them develop the knowledge, skills, maturity, and sense of purpose required to live rewarding lives as adults. And the negative effects of youth disconnection ricochet across the economy, the social sector, the criminal justice system, and the political landscape, affecting all of us. Our analysis of a very small subset of the direct costs of youth disconnection reveals an astonishingly high cost to taxpayers: $26.8 billion in 2013 alone, or nearly the entire amount the federal government spends on science.

This is a problem affecting all of us.


Links of the Day:


– This makes me sad. Sunday hours are going away at the Central Library. No Rochester branch will be open on Sundays.

– Did state budget cuts contribute to the inmate escape?

– Police often blame suspects’ deaths on “excited delirium.” Is that a diagnosis or a cover-up?

– A Florida city finds red light cameras don’t make people safer.

– Technology to prevent drivers from starting their cars when they’ve been drinking could become standard in the future.


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5 Responses to Disconnected Youth

  1. June 12, 2015 at 7:58 am Animule responds:

    Download the pdf study results and do a word search on the word “single.” You won’t find it in the report because the 36 page report goes to extraordinary lengths to ignore the elephant in the room that single parent households are highly correlated with “disconnected youth.” For the record, ACT Rochester says that 80% of black families and 71% of Hispanic families in the city of Rochester are single parent versus 64% and 40% for the USA as a whole, respectively by race. If you look at the ratios for “disconnected youth” by race and compare those to the city of Rochester numbers above by race, you’ll find that they are pretty close. And yet there is no mention of single parent families in the report.

    So just who is the “Social Science Research Council?” It’s a 501c3 with an agenda, and one of the most top-heavy and highly compensated board of directors you’ll ever find when looking through a 990 report. The non-profit has no less than seven people (six of whom have the title of “director”) that “earn” over $100,000 per year. The ringleader of the group is Ira Katznelson who took in an astounding $452,628 in total compensation in 2014 including $41k in non-taxable retirement fund contributions and almost $62k in “nontaxable benefits.”. The army of directors also takes in a massive amount of retirement contributions and “nontaxable benefits” according to the 990. What makes this all the more amazing is that the organization reported total assets of just under $35 million for 2014 which is chump change in the non-profit world. The pay for the directors is several orders of magnitude higher than for similar non-profits in the Rochester area including those that have eight times the assets that this group has. This is a scam and it is unfortunate that the press lacks the basic curiosity to look under the hood and sniff out the agenda behind a “study” like this without first blasting it out there like this is big time news.

  2. June 12, 2015 at 8:41 am rochester_veteran responds:

    I participated in Deacon John Coffey’s homicide prayer vigils for a few years (starting with my neighbor, Melody Kelly’s murder back in 2005) and going to those vigils took me to the parts of Rochester that I don’t go to anymore, rough, crime ridden neighborhoods. During the summer months, I couldn’t help but notice the number of young men just hanging about on porches and street corners and what a recipe for trouble that their idleness is a big ingredient. When I was their age, when I wasn’t in school, I was either working or playing team sports. My friends and I hung out too, but it wasn’t our full-time activity. The thing that really burns me about it is that most of these idle young men, who should be going to school and working, are living on our dime! Why are their parents allowing this? Probably because they did the same thing and then there’s that “babies having babies” single mother thing that is the biggest cause of poverty in the US. How to we save people from themselves? This is totally self inflicted!

  3. This is something most already knew/suspected. The question is how to prevent it and how to fix it once it happens.

    • Bill,…Your one liner hit the bulls eye. There are plenty of statistics one can draw from and write an essay on the subject of “disconnected youth”. Its easy to write about the poverty and education failure. What is more difficult and challenging is,… how are we going to fix it. How do we break this cycle of misery and dependency. Rachel Barnhart!…….I challenge you to not just dig up some statistics and BPM about it (Bitch, piss and moan), I challenge you to make some suggestion to fix the problem presented. Use some ingenuity, some out of the box thinking, some unique approach to address the issue of disconnected youth. If you don’t do that you may be part of the problem. You may be profiting from the issues at hand. Present the problem and come up with a proposal to induce change for the better, which will at the very least get others to chime in on HOW TO FIX IT!

      Well,…aren’t you doing the same? might be your response,…but you would be incorrect. The problem of disconnected youth and all the associated issues that attach themselves, come from a lack of education, PERIOD! The current urban education method is not connecting with the urban youth. They are bored out of their gourds and we continue to do so expecting different results. I have been on a one person crusade to change that for over three years now, The experts, however, have everything under control, ….er,….for several decades now. There are to many individuals in powerful well paying positions who make a profit off the misery of others. They really don’t want if fixed, its their livelihood.

      So, Rachel, if you’re not willing to write with the purpose of finding a solution (solution based writing) don’t bore us with statistical dramas. We have all the statistics at our finger tips. Don’t bore us with the DUH story of the day. And if you’re interested in a solution based effort that can enhance the urban educational crisis,….which is thee root of the problem associated with disconnected youth and so many other articles you have written,….you know how to contact me. I won’t hold my breath.

      • July 1, 2015 at 10:38 am Solomon responds:

        Mr. Porte, I have noticed that most of your posts have a theme, which is that education and the lack thereof, is a root cause of poverty. I would agree with this. What I disagree with and some of the other comments, is that WE have to do something about it.

        There has to be a point in a persons life that they realize that they need to take responsibility for themselves and their families. Getting or not getting an education is a CHOICE. My responsibility is to be a contributing member of society so that institutions such as public school are available to all citizens where they are able to receive said education. IF an individual chooses to lead a life that includes skipping school and not bothering to get an education than they have no one but themselves to blame. The programs and institutions to assist these people already exist and are available to everyone. They just need to use them.

        Blaming someone else for your situation is a cop out and the lazy way to justify your living situation.

        I personally do NOT have a college education but have been able to provide for my family. Why is that? It is due to the fact that I work hard, take advantage of educational opportunities in my profession and I don’t blame anyone for the choices I MAKE.

        Bottom line is the Urban Educational Crisis, as you referred to it, is a self-inflicted wound, these people, kids, and families are committing educational suicide and then want to blame everyone else for it.

        Our grandparents, who lived thru the Great Depression would be laughing their asses off at these whiny, crybabies.

        Suck it up and do something about it. That is an individual decision that no one person or government agency or non-profit can make or do for anyone.

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