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Posted on 05-19-2011
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Economic inequities continue to affect youth


How can these young people "win the future" considering these educational and employment obstacles? / ¿Cómo podrán estos jóvenes "ganar el futuro", teniendo en cuenta estos obstáculos educativos y de empleo?
Photo: ESFP
By Eduardo Garcia, Folayemi Agbede

Formal analysis of the racial and ethnic data provided by the 2010 Census survey gives substantial weight to what we already knew was happening in communities across the country: The United States continues to grow rich with diversity—and it’s happening at a faster pace than anybody could have predicted. But even as America continues to become more diverse, economic inequalities persist, particularly for youth. These demand policy attention.
Nationwide, there is a growing racial generation gap. Latino and Asian communities have grown faster than other groups in America over the last 10 years by 43 percent and 43.3 percent, respectively. Consequently, the number of children coming from Latino and Asian households has grown by 5.5 million. This increase in Asian and Latino families has created a seismic shift in the percentages of people of color and their white counterparts by age. Sixty-seven percent of the adult population is white, but only 54 percent of American children are. Conversely, Latinos now represent one in four children living in the United States—a 43 percent jump from the previous decade.
Some might be tempted to declare that growth in communities of color will naturally translate into more progressive ideals, and that our responsibility to promote racial and economic justice—through policy initiatives, youth leadership, and professional development, among others—should be less of a priority.
But economic inequities continue to disproportionately affect young people of color—even those graduating from high schools and colleges. Simply consider how young people fared last year during the peak of youth joblessness: Joblessness for African-American college graduates was at 19 percent, more than double what it was for white college graduates (8.4 percent), while 13.8 percent of Latino graduates were out of work. Many of these youth represent the first generation of college students in their families and the hope for ...
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