Engaging “Disconnected” Youths to Prevent Lives of Isolation, Poverty, and Ill Health* | Adolescent Medicine | JAMA Forum Archive | JAMA Network
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Engaging “Disconnected” Youths to Prevent Lives of Isolation, Poverty, and Ill Health*

Consider a group of young US residents who are considered “disconnected youth”—the nearly 12% of people between the ages of 16 and 24 years who are neither enrolled in school nor employed. If young people lack support from family or mentors to face the developmental challenges of transitioning to adulthood, or if they haven’t acquired the skills necessary for successful employment, they are at risk for a life of isolation, poverty, and poor health.

The extent of disconnected youth is one indicator of a community’s health. Measure of America (MoA), a nonprofit project of the Social Science Research Council, added this concept to its measures in 2009, using data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The University of Wisconsin’s County Health Rankings now includes it as a key health indicator.

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