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What Have We Learned About the Problems of and Prospects for Disadvantaged Youth?

What Have We Learned About the Problems of and Prospects for Disadvantaged Youth?

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction What Have We Learned About the Problems of and Prospects for Disadvantaged Youth?
Source:
The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth
Author(s):
Jonathan Gruber
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226309477.003.0001

Youth from low-income households, minority youth, and youth from broken families face a series of barriers to success that may have negative implications both today and in the future. A critical influence on the outcomes of disadvantaged youth is their educational opportunities. While there have been a number of initiatives to improve the educational opportunities available to low-income children, one of the most popular has been allowing students to opt out of their underperforming local school and choose another public school. This chapter provides an analysis of the impact of the recent increases in compulsory schooling ages. Another dimension along which disadvantaged youth suffer relative to their advantaged counterparts is health status. These gaps arise from several sources: differences in inherited health status (genetic transmission); differences in treatment of illness; differences in environments that impact health status; and differences in risk-taking behaviors that determine health outcomes (such as smoking and drinking). Furthermore, the chapter examines the role of contextual influences on the outcomes of disadvantaged children: the unemployment of their parents, the religiosity of the household, and the rate of crime in the neighborhood.

Keywords:   youth, educational opportunities, schooling ages, health status, contextual influences

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