Where are US Youth at Greatest Risk and Why? States Ranked on 6 Key Indicators

The highest percentage of youth without a high school diploma is in New Mexico and the youth poverty rate is highest in DC. More red flag indicators follow.

Poverty, poor health, limited education, and absence of role models are only a few of the negative variables that can undermine a young person's transition to adulthood. And those early physical, emotional, and social deficits may have long-lasting consequences for adult potential and behavior.

A recent comparison by WalletHub of the 50 states and District of Columbia looked at key indicators of youth risk, using publicly available data ranging from a state's youth labor force participation and high school graduation rates to its percentage of youth drug users and youth who are overweight or obese.

Following are the 5 states ranked highest and lowest on 6 prime indicators used in the composite overall scoring. Note: Youth are individuals aged 18 to 24 years.