THE NEED FOR HOPE
In South Carolina, there are 73,000 young adults, aged 16-24, who are not attending school and not working.
In Richland County alone, roughly 2.5% of teens aged 16-19 are not enrolled in school and will not graduate with a high school diploma; and roughly 7.7% of young adults aged 18-24 reported that they neither attained a high school diploma or GED.
A good percentage of these young adults and teens are in poverty, and very few of these residents will be educated and/or employable by the time they turn 25 years old. The majority of these juveniles are primarily African American, but all of these residents are low-income and first-generation scholars; and their current prospects of achieving a collegiate career and/or employment in a profession that promises livable wages and upward mobility are severely limited.
For a child who is born poor in Richland County, the chances of rising socioeconomically are the lowest of anywhere in the country. The statistics tell a hopeless story:
- In 2020, the unemployment rate in South Carolina was at 6.2 percent. This is a significant increase from the year previous, when the unemployment rate stood at 2.8 percent.
- In 2019 the highest paid race/ethnicity of South Carolina workers was Asian. These workers were paid 1.1 times more than Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander workers, who made the second highest salary of any race/ethnicity in South Carolina. This chart shows the race and ethnicity-based wage disparities in the 5 most common occupations in South Carolina by number of full-time employees.
- 15.2% of the population for whom poverty status is determined in South Carolina (742k out of 4.88M people) live below the poverty line, a number that is higher than the national average of 12.3%. This chart shows that the highest poverty age groups are juveniles between the ages of 18-34 years old.