In Tulsa County, records reveal that approximately 10% of the county’s residents have less than a high school graduation level of education. Approximately 26% have a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate. Another approximate 32% have some college but no college degree (4). These numbers reveal that approximately one third of our citizens do not have the educational background to earn a salary that would place them squarely in the category of being self-sufficient. And another third is at risk of the same. In 2011, 11% of youth between the ages of 16 and 19 in Tulsa County were not enrolled in school nor were they employed or in the labor force. 28.7 % of those between the ages of 20 and 24 were not employed or in the labor force (5).
In 2012, there were 221,664 children under the age of 18 living below the U.S. poverty threshold in the state of Oklahoma (6). This number represents 24.1% of all children in the state. In Tulsa County, the numbers total 36,400 or 23.7% (7). 16.9% of persons living in Tulsa County are also food insecure, meaning that they do not know where there next meal is coming from. That percentage is higher for children with almost 23.8% of the county’s children being hungry (8). Food insecurity is a direct indictor of a family’s overall economic status as well as an experience that leaves many Oklahoma children and youth at risk for educational success and overall well being.
(5) Disconnected Teens and Young Adults, Prepared by the Community Service Council, with support from the Metropolitan Human Services Commission. US Census Bureau, 2009-11 American Community Survey.