WASHINGTON, D.C. — One in five West Virginians between the ages of 16 and 24 are not going to school and they’re not working.

That’s according to a new report from the Opportunity Nation Coalition which showed, nationally, 15 percent of people in that age group are not on the job or in class.

It cost taxpayers an estimated $93 billion last year in lost revenues and increased social services.

Russell Krumnow, managing director for Opportunity Nation, said such inactivity affects everyone.

“We know if young people don’t get on the career ladder early, don’t get skills, don’t start building social networks and communities that they can benefit from, it depresses their lifetime earnings and, as a result, harms their communities and the larger economy,” said Krumnow.

The rate of young people out of school and out of work is one of the factors Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan nonprofit group made up of 250 organizations, used to determine West Virginia’s opportunity score.

The state’s score is one of the lowest in the United States at just less than 45 percent.

Other factors considered include the number of people living below the poverty line, Internet access, college graduation rates, income equality and public safety.

“Communities really matter and that’s what the data and the Opportunity Index tells us,” said Krumnow on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”  “Where you live makes a difference and, for way too many Americans, the zip code you’re born into often determines how high you can climb.”

Much of West Virginia is in the lower opportunity category.

The individual counties in West Virginia with the highest individual opportunity scores include Putnam, Wetzel, Monongalia, Pocahontas and Jefferson.  Even in those counties, though, the scores hover around the national average of almost 51 percent.

The full study results are available at www.opportunityindex.org.

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  • OhSayCanYouSee

    Those who have a lot of time on their hands--Crisis Pregancy Centers could use your help. The Gabriel Project in Morgan Co. and some other counties provide practical help, such as maternity clothing and safe cribs. 304 258 LOVE

    • Joe

      Your comment beautifully sums up the absolutely pathetic state of liberal policies have done to this country.

      I salute you.

  • Cory Boothe

    A revived CCC program would do wonders for the youth of our country.

    • Joe

      So would reinstituting the military draft.

  • D.P.

    David - Do some research there Bud!!! The unemployment figure is a VERY MISLEADING ONE! The WV and U.S. unemployment figure continues to fall-NOT because more people are working, but because MORE people are dropping out of the work force! Approximately 80% of the jobs created in the U.S. this year are PART TIME ones mostly in the service industries.

    Sadly, WV (I'm quite certain about this) is the ONLY state in the country that has a higher mortality rate than birth rate! The population in WV is increasing in only five to seven counties, but DECREASING in the other 48-50 counties. Why, primarily due to NO FRIGGING JOBS BEING CREATED!!!

    David, you are a very typical Dem. lemming who is totally clueless!!! All of the scandals created in the Obummer Administration is a terrible disgrace! Obamacare is the latest (and certainly not the last) scandal! But, when people in this country are so gulliible (and if you vote David, you were one of them) to vote blindly for a party and a man whose claim to fame is Community Organizer, this is what we get!!!

    David, continue to enjoy your ENTITLEMENT LIFE paid for by those of us who are working and paying taxes!!!!!

  • WVUBig12

    Perhaps the downtrodden members of society can gain meaningful employment at Wal-Mart. Isn't Wal-Mart the number one employer in the state? I just read a WSJ article this morning indicating how McDonald's and Wal-Mart contribute around 20 billion dollars to tax payers b/c their employees qualify for food stamps and other entitlements.

  • john

    my nieghbor who is 22 yrs old is recieving SS check every month, his mother who works for the wv dept of human services here in beckley helped him with the paper work etc, he also has a girlfriend who just graduated from high school who also just started recieving SS checks. and guess who helped her get paper work straight - you guess it- his mother. Looks like they are set for life - running around doing nothing - and getting paid for it - cant beat that can you.


      Every damn person receiving social security checks should be re-evaluated immediately and every few years. I have employees on my staff who are physically disabled thru loss of limbs, severe illness, etc and who report every day and contribute richly to our mission. Time to cut the checks off and either let them starve or work!!!!

      • tracyo64

        + 1

  • Goneforgood

    I was born in Parkersburg and graduated from WVU in 2004. I live in Columbus now and am earning about threw times what I would make if I stayed back home. So sad but it's really true! Young educated people simple cannot afford to stay in WV.

  • WVU 74

    “Where you live makes a difference and, for way too many Americans, the zip code you’re born into often determines how high you can climb.”

    Horse-Hockey! The zip code you're born into is an accident at birth. Thousands of young West Virginians choose (repeat ...choose) to leave areas in which they were born. They choose to go to areas that have opportunities, lower costs of living, better climates.

    Posting as one that left West Virginia in 1974, it was not an easy decision. But I had to go where my employer had need of my talents. It was always a free choice. The results were career advancements, salary enrichment, and eventual promotion into senior management. A career that lead to a retirement with little financial worries.

    The Zip Code of my birth (26505) was never a consideration during a 30 year career.

    • wvfreys

      WVU 74, your an idiot, you didn't even get the point of the zip code.

      • Spell Checker

        Er, that's "you're".

        • Samantha

          Lol, yeah. I know it you're. I was a bit angry and wasn't paying attention to much.

  • Jason R

    Its not just younger people doing nothing, there's alot of middle-aged people doing nothing in this state as well. This is what happens when you live in a democrat-controlled welfare state. Why would anyone want to work or further their education when they can count on government to take care of them for the rest of their lives? Then, because taxes have to be raised to support all of these deadbeats, it drives out what businesses would be willing to hire so now we have ourselves a vicious cycle.

    • David

      I beg to differ with ya about your statement. How I see it, there are 19 GOP states that have higher unemployment rates than WV, and 10 GOP states that have lower unemployment rates than WV. Do some more research there bud!!!

    • William

      I'm a young guy that does not work,
      I'm the SMART ONE!
      1. I get free mail-box money
      2. I get free food stamps(SNAP)
      3. I get make rent paid for free
      4. I get discount on my utilities(Liheap)
      5. I get free health care
      6. I get a free cell-phone
      7. I get free cable & internet
      8. I get free clothes vouchers
      9. I PAY NO TAXES, and the gov. gives me a big check on April 15
      10. I have free time 24/7, do what I want when I want
      Some of you going to jobs that U hate, wasting YOUR time, getting paid very little for 40 hour weeks.
      Your all stressed out
      You hate your job
      You hate getting up in the morning
      You hate you co-workers
      You hate your boss
      You hate working
      Your tried of getting screwed at work

      • Berry

        It's Bush's fault!

      • Samantha

        Your not the "smart one" . Your a lazy idiot. I hope you enjoy your pointless, useless existence while all of the taxpayers pay for your loser lifestyle.

      • Kevin

        I guess if your good with living under the govts. thumb all your life, only able to go as far and do as much as the govt. will allow you, being happy with mediocrity, or possibly less then that, never gaining the self-esteem and self worth that goes along with being a contributing member of society. Go for it.

      • zero tolerance


      • Jonus Grumby

        Is this a great country or what?

      • Larry

        Something tells me you are a William impersonator.