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ACT for Youth

U.S. Teen Demographics

Visit these pages for selected statistics in the areas of health, sexual health, internet and social media, and family relationships.
 

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there were 41,852,838 youth age 10-19 in the United States, 13% of the total U.S. population, in 2019 [1]. In New York State, the population of youth age 10-19 is estimated to be 2,276,104, 12% of the state's total [1].

Gender

According to census data, about 51% of the total U.S. population are counted as female and 49% male [1]. A 2017 estimate of the transgender population, based on 12 national surveys, concluded that for about one in every 250 adults, their gender identity does not match the sex assigned them at birth [2].

Ethnicity, Race, National Origin

Racial/ethnic diversity is greater in the child population than in the adult U.S. population [3]. When the Latinx population is treated as a single category, the population of children in 2018 was 50% white, 25% Latinx, 14% Black, 5% Asian, 4% multi-racial, 1% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.5% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander [3]. Note, however, that Latinx youth are diverse in national/family origin, and each racial group includes Latinx people within it (see chart) [1].
Latinx Percentage of Racial Groups in U.S., Age 10-19, 2019
By 2030, the percentage of children who are Latinx is expected to near 27%, while the percentage of white non-Hispanic (NH) children will drop to 47%; together, children who belong to ethnic/racial "minority" groups will comprise the majority of the youth population [4]. For a more detailed breakdown, visit the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 National Population Projections Tables and download Table 6.

In New York State, half of adolescents age 12-17 are white NH, 24% are Latinx, 15% are black NH, 8% are Asian NH, 3% are multiracial NH, less than 0.5% are American Indian/Alaskan Native NH, and less than 0.5% are Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander NH (2019 numbers) [5].

Twenty-six percent of all children (age 0-17) are first- or second-generation immigrants (2019 numbers, here defined as living in the U.S. with at least one foreign-born parent) [6]. Among children age 5-17 in 2018, 23% of children did not speak English at home; however, only 4% of children had difficulty speaking English [6].

Geographic and Neighborhood Settings

In 2018, about 86% of children lived in metropolitan areas (areas with an urban population of at least 50,000) while 8% lived in micropolitan (with an urban population of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000) and just over 5% lived in rural areas [6, 7].

The 2018-2019 National Survey of Children's Health found that, according to their parents, 55% of children live in supportive neighborhoods: survey recipients agreed that people in the neighborhood help each other out, neighbors watch out for each other's children, and/or they know where to go for help [8]. In New York State, the percentage drops slightly to 51% [8].

The same survey found that the vast majority of parents consider their neighborhoods at least somewhat safe for their children. However, nearly 5% nationwide considered their neighborhoods unsafe; 6% in New York State [9].

Family Income

Median family income in U.S. households with children was $78,001 in 2019. Median income falls in households with children where only one spouse is present: for those headed by women median income was $31,035; for those headed by men median income was $48,083 [10]. In New York State, among families with children, median income is $83,592; for women with no spouse present median income is $33,462; for men with no spouse present median income is $50,023 [10].

The percentage of adolescents (age 12-17) living in impoverished or low-income families increased from 35% in 2008 to 40% in 2014 [11]. Nineteen percent of this age group live below the poverty line [11].

Sixty percent of black adolescents live in low-income families, as do 59% of Hispanic, 56% of American Indian, 32% of Asian, 27% of white, and 40% of adolescents of some other race. In this age group, over half (52%) of children of immigrant parents have low incomes. Low income is defined here as less than 200% of the federal poverty line [11].

In 2019, 24% of children (under age 18) lived in low-income families where at least one parent worked full time or more [12]. That same year, 26% of children lived with parent(s) who did not have steady, full-time employment [12]. In 2018, 15% of children lived in families that were at times unable to provide enough food [6].

Homelessness

Estimates of homelessness among adolescents vary a great deal. In the 2019 "point-in-time" tally of the homeless conducted by communities across the United States, about 35,000 youth (unaccompanied children and young adults under age 25) -- roughly 6% of the homeless population -- were found to be homeless on the night of the count [13]. In addition, 7,564 parenting youth (parents under age 25 with their child present) were counted [13].

Youth who are LGBTQ -- especially those who are black -- experience homelessness at particularly high rates [14]. Researchers estimate that LGBTQ youth are 2 to13 times more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ counterparts [14]. LGBTQ youth who are unsheltered are also at greater risk of physical and sexual assault than are non-LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness [14].

Pregnant and parenting youth are also at high risk for homelessness. One nationally representative survey revealed that young adults who experienced homelessness in the prior year were more likely to have children than were young adults who had stable housing. For example, among women age 18-25, 43% of women who had not had stable housing had at least one child while only 22% of their counterparts with stable housing were mothers [15].

A high percentage of young people experiencing homelessness have come through the foster care system. While some youth become homeless once they age out of the system, others experience homelessness after they have been either adopted or reunited with their families [16].

Endnotes

[1]   U.S. Census Bureau. (2020, June). 2019 Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race and Hispanic Origin. (See National and State Detailed Tables). April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019.
census.gov/newsroom/press-kits/2020/population-estimates-detailed
.html

 
[2]   Meerwijk, E. L., & Sevelius, J. M. (2017). Transgender population size in the United States: A meta-regression of population-based probability samples. American Journal of Public Health, 107(2), e1-e8.
doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303578
 
[3]   Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2020, September 4). What the data say about race, ethnicity, and American youth.
aecf.org/blog/what-the-data-say-about-race-ethnicity-and-american
-youth/

 
[4]   U.S. Census Bureau. (2018, September 6). 2017 national population projections tables, Table 6 [Summary table].
census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/popproj/2017-summary-tables.html
 
[5]   Annie E. Casey Foundation. (n.d.). Kids Count Data Center: Choose a location.
datacenter.kidscount.org/locations
 
[6]   Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2020). America's children in brief: Key national indicators of well-being, 2020.
childstats.gov/americaschildren/
 
[7]   U.S. Census Bureau. (2020). Metropolitan and micropolitan: About.
census.gov/programs-surveys/metro-micro/about.html
 
[8]   Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. (n.d.). 2018-2019 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) data query. Indicator 7.1: Does this child live in a supportive neighborhood?
childhealthdata.org/browse/survey
 
[9]   Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. (n.d.). 2018-2019 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) data query. Indicator 7.2: Does this child live in a safe neighborhood?
childhealthdata.org/browse/survey
 
[10]   United States Census. (n.d.). Median income in the past 12 months (in 2019 inflation-adjusted dollars) [Table ID S1903, customized to show United States and New York State].
data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=S19&g=0100000US_0400000US36&d=ACS%
201-Year%20Estimates%20Subject%20Tables&tid=ACSST1Y2019.S1903&hid
ePreview=true

 
[11]   Jiang, Y., Ekono, M., & Skinner, C. (2016, February). Basic facts about low-income children: Children aged 12 through 17 years, 2014.
nccp.org/publications/pub_1147.html
 
[12]   Annie E. Casey Foundation. (n.d.). Kids Count Data Center: Data by topic.
datacenter.kidscount.org/topics
 
[13]   U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2020, January). The 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, Part 1.
huduser.gov/portal/sites/default/files/pdf/2019-AHAR-Part-1.pdf
 
[14]   Homelessness Policy Research Institute. (2019, August). LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.
socialinnovation.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/LGBTQ-Youth-L
it-Review-Final.pdf

 
[15]   Dworsky, A., Morton, M. H., Samuels, G. M. (2018). Missed opportunities: Pregnant and parenting youth experiencing homelessness in America. Chapin Hall.
voicesofyouthcount.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/VoYC-Pregnant-a
nd-Parenting-Brief-Chapin-Hall-2018.pdf

 
[16]   Dworsky, A., Gitlow, E., Horwitz, B., & Samuels, G. M. (2019). Missed opportunities: Pathways from foster care to youth homelessness in America. Chapin Hall.
chapinhall.org/wp-content/uploads/Chapin-Hall_VoYC_Child-Welfare-
Brief_2019-FINAL.pdf