September 2014 | Harry Holzer, Paul Offner, and Elaine Sorensen, Urban Institute

Declining Employment among Young Black Less-Educated Men: The Role of Incarceration and Child Support

In this paper, researchers document the continuing decline in employment and labor force participation of black men between the ages of 16 and 34 who have a high school education or less. They explore the extent to which these trends can be accounted for in recent years by two fairly new developments: (1) The dramatic growth in the number of young black men who have been incarcerated; and (2) strengthened enforcement of child support policies. Researchers use micro-level data from the Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Groups (CPS-ORG), along with state-level data over time on incarceration rates and child support enforcement, to test these hypotheses. Their results indicate that post-incarceration effects and child support policies both contribute to the decline in employment activity among young black less-educated men in the past two decades, especially among those ages 25-34.


Sign up to stay up-to-date with news and resources.

Sign Up

YoungWilliams does not endorse the reports or opinions expressed by non-YoungWilliams authors, nor do we endorse the entities that initially released or published the materials posted on our website.