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Study: New Hampshire has small number of at-risk youth

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(The Center Square) – New Hampshire ranked next-to-last in the nation in a new study examining at-risk youth.

The Granite State ranked 50th in the nation in WalletHub’s new report “2023’s States with the Most At-Risk Youth.” The report took a deep dive into issues facing America’s youth across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and measures education level, health, and physical fitness that could hinder social or physical development.

In the study, New Hampshire earned an overall score of 27.25, earning a rank of 51st for education and employment and 23rd for health. The state tied for 50th with the percentage of disconnected youth.

Louisiana ranked first with a score of 69.84, ahead of Mississippi (68.76) and West Virginia (66.31). Massachusetts ranked last with a score of 25.95, ahead of New Hampshire, New Jersey (30.50), and Utah (31.41).

Emily Tanner-Smith, Thompson Professor, College of Education, Counseling, Psychology, Family and Human Services, Prevention Science at the University of Oregon, said states and policymakers can do more to reduce disconnects from school and work for rural youth.

“Policymakers can help by continuing to support investments in developing, testing, and scaling up evidence-based programs that focus on engaging rural youth in the labor market,” Tanner-Smith said in the report. “For instance, the Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse provides timely information about what programs have been found to be effective in helping job seekers find and keep meaningful employment. There are numerous effective interventions for increasing employment and earnings among rural youth, including those focused on providing assistance with job search activities, work readiness activities, and soft skills training.”

WalletHub used fifteen key metrics to compile the report, determining which states have youth facing adverse outcomes when they reach adulthood. The metrics are graded on a 100-point scale.

In Education and Employment, a total of 60 points comprises the overall score, featuring 10.91 points for disconnected youth, the population between ages 18 to 24 who are out of work, not attending school, and do not possess a degree above a high school diploma.

For Health, 40 points are available, including overweight and obese youth, youth using illicit drugs, heavy drinking, and physical, mental, and emotional health.

According to the study, Adam McCann, author of the report, wrote that “without a stable home, positive role models, and tools for success,” youth traditionally fall behind and experience “a rocky transition to adulthood.”

According to the study, 16% of youth aged 18-24 are not working or attending school. In contrast, many others “suffer from poor health conditions” that serve as barriers to physical and social development.

The study shows that those issues impact youth later in life, as 77% of today’s young adults cannot join the military as they have failed academic, moral, or health qualifications. The research shows that those youth are more susceptible to poverty, early pregnancy, and violence as adults.

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