Time use patterns among U.S. disengaged youth

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In 2018, 4.6 million youth in the U.S. were neither working nor enrolled in school, a rate of 11.7 percent. These individuals are often referred to as disengaged. Youth disengagement has profound negative consequences for substance use, mental health, and later life earnings. Little is known about how disengaged youth occupy their time or how activity patterns might vary among disengaged youth. This study used 2010–2016 data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to examine patterns of daily life for 1,129 disengaged youth ages 16–24. Hierarchical Cluster Analysis identified five subgroups. These were youth who focused on social activities, youth who appeared to be the primary caregivers of young children, youth engaged in religious pursuits, volunteering-focused youth, and youth who spent extensive time on court-related tasks and travel. Males, younger individuals, the unmarried, and those with fewer children were more likely to be focused on social activities than their counterparts. Females, Whites, older respondents, and those with children were more likely to be caregivers. Black youth and those from higher-income families were more likely to report religious activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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