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Understanding the Challenges Faced by Boys and Young Men of Color

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INTERACTIVE MAP: Share of males, age 0-24 who live in areas of concentrated and deeply concentrated poverty. View map >

Boys and young men of color face profound challenges growing up in America. They are twice as likely to grow up in poverty as non-Hispanic white males and much more likely to live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. As they move through life, many face multiple educational and economic disadvantages, leaving African American and Hispanic males less likely than their white and Asian peers to have high school diplomas and more likely to be jobless.

Even boys and young men of color who don’t face as many disadvantages frequently find themselves negatively affected by social and cultural perspectives, institutions, and systems within the larger society. Understanding the larger context is essential to developing effective mechanisms for removing barriers that are created for boys and young men of color.

In the papers below, the Urban Institute has laid out the challenges faced by these boys and young men in several important areas and identified a number of policies, system reforms, and programs that could put them on course for successful transition to adulthood.

This research, which draws on a broad body of Urban Institute work, was done to inform philanthropic efforts that resulted in the report A Time for Action: Mobilizing Philanthropic Support for Boys and Young Men of Color. The report was released shortly after the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force announced its initial plan in May 2014.

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