Disconnected or “Opportunity” Youth are 16- to 24-year-olds who are not working and not in school. While the rate of Disconnected/Opportunity Youth in the State has been decreasing since 2013, the number slightly increased this year, to 92,275 youth, or 12.9% of the total population of 16- to 24-year-olds.
The state’s overall disconnection rate is lower than the national average, but race and place tell a different story. In 2016, eleven (11) jurisdictions had greater rates of disconnection than the national average and some had much greater rates. In Washington County, one in every five youth age 16 to 24 was disconnected from work and school. In Worcester County, that number was nearly one in four. The national rate is one in seven. In Baltimore City, the rate was just short of one in five, which has held steady for the past several years.
When disaggregated by race, the data demonstrate a widening gap in the rate of connectedness. In 1990, white youth represented 46.5% of all Opportunity Youth and youth of color represented about 53%. In 2014, white youth represented about 35% of all Opportunity Youth and youth of color represented 65%. Over that same period, the raw number of white youth who were disconnected did not change much, even as the total number of Opportunity Youth grew by 25%. However the raw number of youth of color increased from 1990 – 2014 by more than 52%.
 PolicyLink. 16 to 24 year olds not working and not in school, 1990-2014.