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Disconnected Youth, 2017 Annual Report
Measure: Disconnected Youth, 2017 Annual Report

Why does this matter?

Being in school or the workforce connects teens and young adults with people, institutions and experiences that help them develop knowledge, skills, maturity and a sense of purpose required to live rewarding lives as adults.


Depression, anxiety and isolation are common among teens and young adults who are neither working nor in school, as are unhealthy behaviors including violence (i.e. being in physical fights), smoking cigarettes and using marijuana. The limited education, lack of work experience, minimal professional networks and social exclusion of disconnected youth have consequences into adulthood and may affect earnings and self-sufficiency, physical and mental health, and relationship quality and family formation.


In 2017, 4.5 million, or one in nine, young Americans were disconnected. It is estimated that the lost revenue and social services investments for disconnected youth cost approximately $93 billion a year and $1.6 trillion over their lifetimes in lost revenues and increased social services.

  • Measure of America, Youth Disconnection Report, 2015

Income Inequity, 2017 Annual Report
  • U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2016

Median Household Income, 2017 Annual Report
Measure: Median Household Income, 2017 Annual Report

Why does this matter?    

The median household income indicates the relative wealth of a geographic area; the higher the median household income, the wealthier the area. Median household income tends to more accurately reflect the typical household of a geographic area than average household income, which can be distorted by a few extremely wealthy households. Median household income reflects a household’s ability to support a healthy lifestyle with quality food, housing, education, preventive medicine and curative care. Individuals with a low household income tend to have a higher prevalences of diseases and die earlier compared with people with higher household incomes, even after taking into account the effect of overall health on their income. There is an increase in stress associated with being in the lower end of the income spectrum, which is associated with unhealthy behaviors and outcomes. Individuals who have a higher burden of stress in adulthood tend to have higher body mass indexes, higher smoking rates, higher alcohol consumption and lower physical activity after adjusting for age.


The median household income in the United States in 2018 was $63,179, which is not significantly different than 2017. This ends three years of increases in median household income.

  • U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2016

Underemployment Rate, 2017 Annual Report
Measure: Underemployment Rate, 2017 Annual Report

Why does this matter?

Underemployment is associated with poorer physical and mental health, similar to the effects of unemployment though its effects have been studied far less. The underemployed are more likely to report lower general well-being as well as lower self esteem, depression, psychological stress, feeling a loss of control, and strained relationships with their spouse, family and friends than adequately employed adults.


The effects of underemployment on the family are profound. Underemployment may lead to breakups or divorce among couples, likely from the strain of depression and financial stress. The stress of underemployment may strain the relationship between parents and children resulting in a less positive household atmosphere. Children may be impacted as they may no longer be able to afford new clothes or participate in activities with their friends.

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016

Unemployment Rate, 2017 Annual Report
Measure: Unemployment Rate, Annual, 2017 Annual Report

Why does this matter?

There is a strong relationship between employment status and mental and physical health. A stable, safe and well-paying job makes it easier for people to live in healthier neighborhoods, provide quality child care and education for their families, afford nutritious food and access medical care — all critical factors to maintaining good health that are jeopardized by unemployment. Unemployment is associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality, especially among adults ages 18-24. Unemployment may also lead to lower self-esteem, higher levels of depression, straining of family ties and the loss of work friends. The effects of job loss are not limited to the individual: studies have shown that there is a profound effect on impacted spouses and children.

High unemployment rates increase the economic burden on states due to decreased revenue from income taxes and increased demand for unemployment insurance and social welfare programs. Adults who are unemployed have a 2.6 times higher prevalence of being uninsured compared to those that are employed.

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016

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