Children & Youth
Disengaged Youth, Ages 16 to 19


Disengaged Youth, Ages 16 to 19

What does this measure?

The percentage of the population between ages 16 and 19 that is not enrolled in school and not working (either unemployed or not in the labor force).

Why is this important?

Whether a young person is in school or working is an indicator of future success. Reasons for youth not being in the workforce or enrolled in school vary significantly, but one common factor is the level of literacy and math skills developed in school. The U.S. has a larger share of disengaged youth and individuals with low numeracy skills than other developed nations. Young people not in school or working are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drug use and violence.

How is our county performing?

In 2013-17, 7% of youth in Berks County were not in school nor working, a rate little changed since 2000. This rate was similar to both Pennsylvania and the nation. Among neighboring counties, Chester and Montgomery had a lower percentage of disengaged youth (3% and 4% respectively), and Lancaster and Lehigh were slightly lower, at 6%. Lebanon County was slightly higher, at 8%, and Schuylkill was comparable, at 7%.

Notes about the data

For additional detail as to how the Berks County regions are defined and which boroughs and townships are included in each, see the About Us page.

The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Disengaged Youth, Ages 16 to 19
20002008-122013-17
Pennsylvania7%7%6%
Berks County7%7%7%
Berks County Regions
Central14%12%*9%*
Northeast4%4%***4%***
South4%1%***5%***
Southeast5%5%***4%***
West8%9%***13%***
Reading city16%14%*8%*
Berks County Peers
Chester County5%4%*3%*
Lancaster County7%6%6%
Lebanon County7%8%*8%*
Lehigh County8%8%6%*
Montgomery County4%4%4%
Schuylkill County9%7%*7%*

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Disengaged means not in school and not working. Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




Number of Disengaged Youth, Ages 16 to 19
20002008-122013-17
Pennsylvania46,95751,09939,684
Berks County1,5391,7431,598
Berks County Regions
Central8381,004*663*
Northeast146211***165***
South17736***284***
Southeast119158***100***
West246334***386***
Reading city803954*535*
Berks County Peers
Chester County1,1071,152*985*
Lancaster County1,9121,9401,842
Lebanon County464568*565*
Lehigh County1,2861,5061,165*
Montgomery County1,2471,8681,467
Schuylkill County614460*422*

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Disengaged means not in school and not working. Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




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