The 5 Worst Cities for Urban Youth

In its commitment to calling attention to the Obama Administration's continued neglect of urban America, ScoopDaily has compiled a list of the 5 worst cities for urban youth. Particular attention is paid to high-school graduation rates, infant mortality rates, unemployment rates, juvenile justice incarceration, and the amount of jobs created in relation to funds received by the Recovery Act.

5. Cleveland, OH

With a high school graduation rate of 34%, the city of Cleveland has among the lowest graduation rates in the country—this according to the America's Promise Alliance. In the most recent annual report filed by Cleveland's Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, a total of 11,254 "Deliquency and Unruly" cases were filed. African-American youth made up 64% of individual offenders, the highest of any minority group. Moreover, the city's unemployment rate stands at 8.3%. After typing in Cleveland's zip code of 44101 at, over $27,000,000 in Recovery Act funds has been received, with zero jobs created to show for it.

4. Baltimore, MD

At 41%, Baltimore's high school graduation rate lands it on the list of Cities in Crisis compiled by America's Promise Alliance. According to the State of Maryland's recent annual report of Juvenile Services, African-American youth made up more than 43% of those placed in Juvenile Detention Facilities, 47% of Out-Of-Home Placements, and 80% of those placed in Shelter Care Programs, the highest of any other group. Among the Baltimore's recent data on Maternal and Infant Health, African-American infants had the highest mortality rate (15.5 per 1000 live births) of any group. Currently the city's unemployment rate stands at 7.6%. shows that over $113,000,000 in funds have been dispersed for Baltimore's zip code of 21202; some 202 jobs have been created for this area.

3. Atlanta, GA

At 44%, the City of Atlanta also boasts one of the nation's lowest graduation rates, landing it in the same pool of Cities in Crisis. The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice reports that for Atlanta's Fulton County, African-American youth made up over 93% of total intake for unique youth served for criminal offenses; over 92% of admissions for criminal offenses; over 92% of releases for criminal offenses committed; over 96% of the average daily population for criminal offenses; and over 95% of child care days served for criminal defenses. This past summer, The Atlanta Department of Police's Gang Unit has identified some 50 youth gangs in the city, notwithstanding the surrounding suburbs—this according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The city's unemployment rate stands at 10.5%, more than the nation's current employment rate of 10.2%. According to, the Atlanta zip code of 30354 has received over $42,000,000 in funds, but only 30 jobs have been created.

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2. Detroit, MI

The motor city presents a dismal high school graduation rate of 38% according to America's Promise Alliance; it too is struggling with the same educational challenges as Atlanta, Baltimore, and Cleveland. According to the most recent executive summary of juvenile statistics published by the Michigan Department of Human Services, Detroit's Wayne County is at the top of the list of counties identified for targeted intervention due to a high juvenile crime arrest rate over a period of 5 years, and high prevalence of arrest in the most recent year of documented juvenile justice data. Statewide, African-American youth comprise almost 50% of arrested juveniles. Detroit is also known to be one of the most violent cities, rated as the nation's murder capital by Forbes. The FBI reports 17,428 instances of violent crime out of a population of 905,783, in their most recent published data on U.S. Crime. Michigan Higher Education Land Policy Consortium reports that Detroit has an infant mortality rate of 15.4 per 1000 live births. The city's unemployment rate stands at a staggering 17.3%. For Detroit's zipcode of 48201, more than $20,000,000 in Recovery Act funds has been received, with only 67 jobs having been created.

1. Chicago, IL

With the highest graduation rate of the 5, Chicago still barely manages to graduate more than half of its Urban District students with a high school graduation rate of 55.7%–this according to the special analytic report on high school graduation published by America's Promise Alliance. According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority's most recent annual report, almost 300,000 youth live in poverty in Chicago's Cook County. Over 26,000 crimes again youth have been reported. Over 31,000 youth in Cook County have been arrested for criminal offenses; and of those arrested, 72% were African-American youth, the highest of any other minority group. Chicago's struggle with youth violence has received national attention over the past year. In the previous academic school year, 36 Chicago-area students have been killed, with the recent death of 16-year old Derrion Albert receiving the most national attention. According to the most recent data on Infant Mortality by the Cook County Public Health, African-Americans have a mortality rate of 14.7 per 1000 births, also the highest of any racial group. Chicago's unemployment rate stands at 10%. For Chicago's zipcode of 60603, more than $800,000,000 in Recovery Act funds has been received, with a dismal 19 jobs created.

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