New Orleans has high number of youth unemployed, not in school

March 12, 2015

Arthur Nead
Phone: 504-247-1443

According to a report released today by the Cowen Institute at Tulane University, New Orleans has the third highest percentage of young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither employed nor enrolled in school. The report also found that Louisiana has the country’s highest percentage of these opportunity youth of any state in the nation.

These young adults are described as opportunity youth because of the potential value they could add to their communities if they are able to reconnect to education, employment and civic opportunities.

Reconnecting Opportunity Youth: Data Reference Guide, authored by the Cowen Institute’s senior policy analyst Patrick Sims, is a comprehensive examination of opportunity youth at the national, state and metropolitan levels from a cost and demographic perspective.

“This report provides a baseline for understanding of who opportunity youth are both in New Orleans and nationally,” said Vincent Rossmeier, director of policy for the Cowen Institute. “Opportunity youth can truly be assets for their communities when they are reconnected to quality employment, educational and training opportunities. Reconnection of this kind is the first step in ensuring opportunity youth persist on pathways to living-wage careers.”

The report also found:

•  Of 16-24-year-olds in the New Orleans metropolitan area, an estimated 18.2 percent are opportunity youth. This is significantly higher than the national rate of 13.8 percent.

•  More than 26,000 16-24-year-olds in the New Orleans area are estimated to be opportunity youth. Nationally, there are 5.5 million opportunity youth.

•  New Orleans has the third-highest estimated percentage of opportunity youth of any metropolitan area in the country, trailing only Memphis and Las Vegas.

•  Louisiana has the highest estimated percentage of opportunity youth in the country. Additionally, Southern states, when compared to states on the West Coast, East Coast, and in the Midwest, have higher overall percentages of opportunity youth.

This report updates the first opportunity youth data guide the Cowen Institute published in 2012. A companion website can be found here.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000