Dear friends and colleagues, 
In the spirit of the holiday season, the release of The New Orleans Youth Index 2016 places a focus on our children. The Index anchors youth advocates’ work with baseline data, which responds to the general question, “How are the children doing now?”  Thus, The Youth Index is a statistical snapshot of the well-being of New Orleans children/youth age 0 to 24.
When you compare data on New Orleans youth with data for the state of Louisiana and/or the U.S., you will see the intersectional work that is required for youth to have robust communities in which to thrive.
Findings Include:
  • New Orleans’ population of youth age 0 to 19 years old grew from 84,517 in 2010 to 88,850 in 2015. This growth was dominated by increases among the white (up 3,808 from 2010) and Hispanic (up 1,451 from 2010) youth populations and declines among the African American youth population (down 1,638 from 2010). Asian youth population increased by only 54 from 2010 to 2015. As of 2015, New Orleans was home to 60,072 African American youth, 18,948 white youth, 5,346 Hispanic youth and 2,262 Asian youth.
  • In 2015, fewer children lived in poverty. In 2015, 36.9 percent of all Orleans Parish children under 18 lived in poverty compared to 28.4 percent of all Louisiana children and 20.7 percent of children nationwide. In 2014, 43.8 percent of New Orleans children under 18 were in poverty compared to 27.9 percent in Louisiana and 21.7 percent nationwide. 
  • The average net price of the state’s flagship university, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, was disproportionately higher for students from low-income families in 2014-2015. For families who earned up to $30,000, the net price was at least 17 percent of their income level; whereas, for families who earned $110,000+, the net price was 15 percent or less of their income.
  • In 2015, there were a total of 164 murders in New Orleans. Of these, 11 were murders of children younger than 18, and 40 were of young people age 18 to 24. In 2015, 18-24 year olds were only 10 percent of the population, but represented 24 percent of homicide victims, and thus are a disproportionate share of homicide victims in New Orleans.
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look into reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce.”
The New Orleans Youth Index 2016 presents evidence to suggest that master planning, systems reform, and organizational focus are needed to improve current conditions that limit youth’s potential. Improving the conditions in which children learn and grow is indeed “village” work. A concerted effort is needed to provide the metaphorical fertilizer, water, and sun that will help our youth reach their highest potential.

Bringing you the data you need to make informed decisions,
The Data Center team
Keisha Smith, Allison Plyer, Bernardo Espinosa, Caroline Heffernan and Dabne Whitemore

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