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Where Are Students at Risk? These Maps Tell the Story

It can be easy to focus on poor grades or absenteeism when thinking about young people at risk, but that leaves out serious health and social issues that can affect students' school lives.

Analysts with the financial group WalletHub offer an interesting approach to gauging what students face in and out of school. A new state ranking incorporates federal data on 14 disparate measures.

In academics, for example, the measure includes the percentage of 8th graders performing proficiently in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, but also the portion of students who took and passed the math and literacy assessments in the Armed Forces Qualification Test, and the share of young adults without a high school diploma. It also measures the shares of youth with obesity, with depression or other mental health issues; those with drug or alcohol problems, and those who are homeless, incarcerated or in foster care. 

Taking all of these factors together, Louisiana and the District of Columbia had the highest overall shares of students at risk, while New Hampshire and New Jersey had the fewest at risk, as the map below shows:

Source: WalletHub

But the data suggest wide variation among states when it comes to individual challenges. Arizona has one of the top five highest dropout rates in the country, but also is in the bottom five states when it comes to child obesity, for example. 

The data also show regional differences over time in how many young adults are disconnected from both school and the workforce:

youth disengagement.JPG

You can dig into the full longitudinal data here.

Maps Source: WalletHub

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