California Report Card 2000
How Adolescents Are Faring Today, October
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.