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California Report Card 2000

product image California Report Card 2000
This 36-page report provides an overview of issues facing California's children, with special focus on the new generation of California teenagers.

California is in the middle of a decade of change, during which our adolescent population (youth ages 10 to 17) will increase by 36 percent to nearly five million (4.7) total by 2005. This growth rate is 2.2 times greater than that of California's overall population and three times greater than the nation's overall population. Our adolescent population will be more diverse than ever before, with 7% African American, 12% Asian/Pacific Islander, 42% Latino and 38% white. Read more below.

How Adolescents Are Fairing Today
The Report Card shows that in a number of areas, California's young people are doing better today compared to several years ago. Teens are more likely to complete high school, less likely to be unemployed and less likely to become parents at an early age. But, compared to teens in other states, California teens are more likely to live in families who struggle economically and they are less likely to have health coverage. The state also incarcerates young people at a rate higher than that of nearly every other state.

Additionally, there is a troubling disparity: African American and Latino youth experience significantly worse outcomes in many economic, health, education and safety measures. For example, Latino children are more than twice as likely to be poor and to lack health coverage compared to white children; African American youth are more than twice as likely to drop out of school and the state is more than 6 times more likely to incarcerate them compared to white youth. While data on Asian/Pacific Islander youth show outcomes often close to the state average, there are certain sub-groups within this population that are not faring well. Better data for these sub-groups is necessary to gain a clearer understanding of their particular challenges and needs.

Not only is California falling behind many other states in fostering young people's capacity to achieve their potential when considering the population overall, but we have especially far to go with Latino youth, where our population growth will be greatest.

Where Do We Go From Here?
Securing more opportunities for adolescents and achieving better outcomes requires multiple efforts from the public and private sectors at the state and local levels, parents and caring members of the community. The recommendations at the end of this report detail next steps for all Californians to consider. First, let's take a closer look at the conditions young people face.

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