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Community Development Publications

Opportunity Youth in Texas

Identifying and Reengaging the State’s Disconnected Young People
Opportunity Youth in Texas


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  1. “Not working” includes both unemployed youth and youth who are out of the labor force altogether.
  2. For more information, see “Making the Connection: Transportation and Youth Disconnection,” by Kristen Lewis, Measure of America, Social Science Research Council, 2019,
  3. For more national-level information on opportunity youth, see Measure of America’s several reports on the topic.
  4. For more information, see “Two Futures: The Economic Case for Keeping Youth on Track,” by Kristen Lewis and Rebecca Gluskin, Measure of America, Social Science Research Council, 2018,
  5. According to Measure of America’s estimates, for each opportunity youth who is reconnected to work or school, the federal government receives nearly $12,000 per year in additional tax revenue and saves over $35,000 a year in foregone incarceration costs. Connected youth are also 45 percent more likely to own a home and more than nine times more likely to have medical coverage.
  6. For more information, see “More than a Million Reasons for Hope: Youth Disconnection in America Today,” by Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis, Measure of America, Social Science Research Council, 2018,
  7. See note 6.
  8. See Figure 1, “Real Median Household Income by Race and Hispanic Origin: 1967 to 2017,” Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2018, accessed July 26, 2019,
  9. See Figure 1, Net Worth by Race/Ethnicity, 2016 Survey, in “Recent Trends in Wealth-Holding by Race and Ethnicity: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances,” by Lisa J. Detting et al., FEDS Notes, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Sept. 27, 2017,
  10. See “The Mark of a Criminal Record,” by Devah Pager, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 108, no. 5, 2003, pp. 937–75,
  11. Two of the focus groups took place in Houston (Harris County) on June 10, 2019. These focus group participants were invited to attend through Educate Texas’ Bridge to College and Career Success initiative, which includes four reengagement programs. The other focus group took place at Elvis J. Ballew College, Career & Technology Academy in Pharr, Texas (Hidalgo County), on July 1, 2019. The focus group participants in Pharr were either attending or had attended Ballew.
  12. “Young and Adrift: Measuring Youth Disconnection in America Today,” by Kristen Lewis, Alex Powers and Marina Recio, Huffington Post, Sept. 26, 2016,