Summary of key findings
- Summer is a crucial time for youth as both students and workers. CCIS data show significant and potentially lasting impacts of the pandemic on education and employment of young people.
- Though young people are not always considered a key group within the workforce, CCIS data show that more than half of surveyed youth (ages 14-24) had been employed in the year prior to the survey and young workers were more likely to report job loss during the pandemic than adult workers.
- While work can be positive for youth both financially and developmentally, it can also be harmful. Surveyed youth were more likely to need to work outside the home during the pandemic than adult workers (63% of young workers, versus 50% of adult workers), increasing their exposure to COVID-19. Despite this increased exposure, a third of youth were not provided personal protective equipment (PPE), nearly 40% were unable to practice social distancing at work, and only a third were trained on how to protect themselves from COVID-19.
- Some youth must work to help their families financially. Half of surveyed youth reported working in the past year, and twice as many youth lost their jobs compared to adults. Nearly a third of youth said that finding a job would be very helpful for them.
- Youth had varied reasons for not returning to, or not wanting to return to school last fall - with 20% worrying about contracting COVID-19 at school.
- Contrary to the common belief that youth are unconcerned about COVID-19, 72% of Massachusetts youth surveyed reported being worried about getting infected with COVID-19.
- The pandemic has impacted youth far beyond remote schooling. Because youth were less likely to suffer from severe health problems from COVID-19, solutions to the pandemic have not addressed the basic needs and mental health needs of youth.
- Young parents were twice as likely to report testing positive for COVID-19, have a household member who tested positive, and to lose someone close to them to COVID-19. Compared to white non-Hispanic/non-Latinx youth Black non-Hispanic/non-Latinx youth were twice as likely to report testing positive for COVID-19 and to lose someone close to them to COVID-19. Hispanic/Latinx youth were more than twice as likely to report having a household member who tested positive for COVID-19. American Indian/Alaska Native youth were twice as likely to report losing someone close to them to COVID-19.
- Many young people are taking on more adult roles such as babysitting siblings and helping their families out financially. Youth of color, youth with disabilities, and youth who speak a language other than English are significantly more likely to take on these responsibilities and more likely to be worried about meeting basic needs such as food and housing.
- Black youth and other youth of color have faced twin pandemics simultaneously in the last year: COVID-19 and anti-black violence in the US. Of Black Black non-Hispanic/non-Latinx youth: One in four are worried about getting enough food, 12% babysit younger siblings more often, and 16% have to help their families financially. Black Black non-Hispanic/non-Latinx youth were also twice as likely to have lost someone to COVID-19 as white Black non-Hispanic/non-Latinx youth.
- Nearly half of all youth reported poor mental health affecting their everyday activities. More than 3 in 4 youth with disabilities, youth of transgender experience, queer youth and non-binary youth reported poor mental h-ealth in the past year. LGBTQ+ youth and youth with disabilities are significantly more likely to report poor mental health in the past year, and 10% of LGBTQ+ youth want access to suicide and crisis resources.
Spotlight slides and webinar
Youth Spotlight Webinar Part 1: Youth Roles and Responsibilities in their Families, their Mental Health, and their Substance Use
To view part 1 of this video with ASL interpretation, watch the part 1 video in gallery view.
Youth Spotlight Webinar Part 2: Youth Education and Employment
To view this video with ASL interpretation, watch the part 2 video in gallery view.