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From family and community dynamics to education quality and access, NORC has studied how young people transition to adulthood.

Young people face a host of challenges as they make the transition to adulthood. In the United States, education equity and access—particularly as they relate to college—continue to be issues, and the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted student learning worldwide. Social media has introduced new social pressures, and students are preparing for a job market that is unpredictably volatile.

Youth development exists at the intersection of several of NORC’s deepest areas of expertise: economics, education, and health. Since 1979, NORC’s National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth have been tracking the educational attainment and employment outcomes of the nation’s young people, with a special emphasis on how education, marriage, health, and geography influence professional success and earning power. The Making Connections program examined how family and community characteristics influence youth development. Overseas, NORC has conducted impact evaluations on many programs related to youth development, including Yes Youth Can!, a United States Agency for International Development–funded initiative in Kenya aimed at combating political violence and other forms of civil unrest through youth empowerment. 

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Youth Development Experts

Highlighted Projects

Making Connections Research Scholars

Providing analytical opportunities for early-career scholars and researchers of color


The Annie E. Casey Foundation

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997

A new, younger cohort of the nation’s preeminent survey of labor force participation from teen years to retirement


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics