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In this section, we offer selected statistics regarding U.S. youth, together with a few statistics focused on New York State. Links and endnotes will connect you to rich resources for further information. These pages are updated periodically.

U.S. Teen Demographics

See menu to the left for selected statistics in the areas of health, sexual health, substance use, education, community engagement, internet and social media, and family relationships.

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there were 41,844,000 youth age 10-19 in the United States, 14% of the total U.S. population, in 2012 [1]. In New York State, the population of youth age 10-19 is estimated to be 13% of the state's total population [2].

Ethnicity, Race, National Origin

Racial/ethnic diversity is greater in the adolescent population than in the adult U.S. population, and diversity among adolescents is increasing [3, 4]. Growth among young, non-white populations is occurring largely in suburbs and small cities [5].

Estimates suggest that by 2019, the percentage of white, non-Hispanic (NH) children will drop below 50%. By 2050, the percentage of Hispanic children is expected to reach 36%, while the percentage of white-NH children will drop to 36% [6].

Twenty-four percent of all children (age 0-17) are first or second generation immigrants (2012 numbers, here defined as living in the U.S. with at least one foreign-born parent) [6]. Among children age 5-17 in 2011, 22% of children did not speak English at home; however, only 5% of these children had difficulty speaking English [6].

Geographic Settings

In 2002, over half (54%) of adolescents age 12-17 lived in suburbs, 27% in rural areas, and 19% in central cities [7].

In 2007, about 82% of children lived in large urban or suburban areas, and nearly 9% lived in small towns (under 50,000) or more rural areas [8].

Family Income

Median family income in U.S. households with children was $59,500 in 2012. This amount is low by comparison with income in 2008, but higher than in the intervening years [9].

The percentage of adolescents (age 12-17) living in families with low income increased from 36% in 2006 to roughly 41% in 2012 [10]. Nineteen percent of this age group live below the poverty line [10].

Sixty percent of black and Hispanic adolescents live in low-income families, as do 58% of American Indian, 34% of Asian, 28% of white, and 40% of adolescents of some other race. In this age group, over half (54%) of children of immigrant parents have low incomes. Low income is defined here as less than 200% of the federal poverty line [10].

In 2012, 31% of children lived with parent(s) who did not have steady, full-time employment [11]. In 2011, 22% of all children (under age 18) lived in families that were at times unable to provide enough food [6].


Estimates of homelessness among adolescents vary a great deal. In 2013, youth were included for the first time in the annual "point-in-time" tally of the homeless conducted by communities across the United States. In what is likely to be an under-count, 47,000 youth (unaccompanied children and young adults under age 25) -- nearly 8% of the homeless population -- were found to be homeless on the night of the count [12]. Estimates from 1998 and 1999 suggest that 1.6-1.7 million youth experience at least one episode of homelessness each year [13].

Homelessness estimates for youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) vary from 6-35%. Pregnant and parenting youth are also at high risk for homelessness; one study found that nearly half of youth living on the streets and 33% of youth in shelters had been pregnant or caused a pregnancy; and roughly 10% of homeless adolescent women are pregnant at the time they are homeless [13]. As youth who have been in foster care transition out of the system, many experience homelessness (11-37%) or unstable housing (25-50%) [14].


[1]   U.S. Census Bureau. (2013). Age and sex composition in the United States: 2012: Table 1. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
[2]   U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.). ACS demographic and housing estimates, 2008-2012: New York. Retrieved June 5, 2014 from

[3]   National Adolescent Health Information Center. (2008). Fact sheet on demographics: Adolescents & Young Adults. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
nahic.ucsf.edu//downloads/Demographics08.pdf (PDF: 596K)
[4]   U.S. Census Bureau. (2012, December 12). U.S. Census Bureau projections show a slower growing, older, more diverse nation a half century from now. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
[5]   Johnson, K. M., & Lichter, D. T. (2010, Spring). The changing faces of America's children and youth (Carsey Institute Issue Brief No. 15). Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
(PDF: 1.8M)
[6]   Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2013). America's children: Key national indicators of well-being, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from
childstats.gov/pdf/ac2013/ac_13.pdf (PDF: 6.5M)
[7]   National Adolescent Health Information Center. (2003). Fact sheet on demographics: Adolescents. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
nahic.ucsf.edu/downloads/Demographics.pdf (PDF: 1.5M)
[8]   U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. (2013). Child health USA 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
[9]   Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2013, October). Kids Count Data Center: Median family income among households with children. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from

[10]   Jiang, Y., Ekono, M., & Skinner, C. (2014, February). Basic facts about low-income children: Children aged 12 through 17 years, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from the National Center for Children in Poverty website:
[11]   Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2013, December). Kids Count Data Center: Children whose parents lack secure employment. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from

[12]   National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2014). The state of homelessness in America, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
[13]   Toro, P. A., Dworsky, A., & Fowler, P. J. (2007). Homeless youth in the United States: Recent research findings and intervention approaches. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website:
[14]   U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). Understanding housing challenges and supports for former foster youth. PD&R Edge. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
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