Wednesday, January 04, 2017

If this Year was a Youth

And by this year, we mean 17.

If this year was a youth, we thought we’d paint a partial picture of what a 17 year old and their peers might be experiencing.

To begin with, a 17 year old, as part of the general youth population in the District, is among 107,989 residents under the age of 18. That is 17% of the population in our city are youth. In a group of 100 youth, 43 of them come from a single mother family and 28 are children living in poverty. 63% are black, 19% are white, 14% are hispanic, &12% identify as other.

For every 1,000 youth, at least 5 are experiencing homelessness at any given time during the year. And of the at least 545 youth experiencing homelessness at any given time in DC, 43% self-identified as LGBTQ.

For a 17 year old, 69% of their class will have graduated high school within four years.

About 8,300 young people in the District are categorized as disconnected youth, meaning they are neither in school nor employed. This represents 9% of all District youth 16 to 24.

Only 12% of 16–19 year olds and 59.7% of 20–24 year olds were able to find paid, unsubsidized work in 2015.

Finally, 17 year olds in DC could be among the few in the country that are able to vote, should the Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2015 be reintroduced and adopted.

If they follow trends in Takoma Park and Hyattsville, voter turn out for 17 year olds would be higher than adults:
So far in Takoma Park, younger-voter participation has been impressive. In the 2013 election there, 44 percent of registered 16- and 17-year-olds voted, compared with just 11 percent of all voters 18 and older. In Hyattsville, 16- and 17-year-olds also participated at more than twice the rate of their 18-and-older counterparts.

So as we enter 2017, we’d like to hear from you 17 year olds about what you see in your community, and what kind of change you’d want to see occur, and finally, if given a chance to vote to make that change happen, would you?

What about you adults? What does giving 16-17 year olds the vote make you think about? What would be the challenges and the opportunities? And until they, how can we all be better advocates for youth to ensure that they can thrive into adulthood?

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