PROJECTBoys and Young Men of Color


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.

Latest Products

Exploring Approaches to Increase Economic Opportunity for Young Men of Color: A 10-Year Review
Natalie Spievack, Madeline Brown, Christin Durham, and Pamela Loprest

Aiming High: How to Help Boys and Young Men of Color Achieve Academic Success
(policy debate)

How businesses can improve opportunities for boys and young men of color 
(blog post)

Margaret Simms

Expanding economic opportunity for boys and young men of color through summer work experience 
(blog post) 

Shayne Spaulding and Don Baylor

To help young black men succeed, pay attention to their health 
(blog post)

Nan Marie Astone

​In Chicago, addressing racial disparities in criminal justice 
(blog post)

Andrew Karas

Improving Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color

Ronald F. Ferguson and Margaret Simms

Aiming Higher Together: Strategizing Better Educational Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color

Ronald F. Ferguson

Sharing responsibility for boys and young men of color
(blog post)

Margaret Simms and Ronald F. Ferguson

Featured Research

Understanding the Environmental Contexts of Boys and Young Men of Color
Lynette A. Rawlings

Promoting Healthy Families and Communities for Boys and Young Men of Color
Nan Astone, Susan J. Popkin, Heather Sandstrom, Lisa Dubay

Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color from Criminal Justice System Involvement
Akiva Liberman, Jocelyn Fontaine

Expanding Economic Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color through Employment and Training
Shayne Spaulding, Robert I. Lerman, Harry Holzer, Lauren Eyster

Criminal Justice

Labeling Effects of First Juvenile Arrests: Secondary Deviance and Secondary Sanctioning
Akiva Liberman, David S. Kirk, KiDeuk Kim

Stop and Frisk: Balancing Crime Control with Community Relations
Nancy G. La Vigne, Pamela Lachman, Shebani Rao, Andrea Matthews

Evaluation of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Reentry Programs: Findings and Recommendations
Janeen Buck Willison, Samuel Bieler, KiDeuk Kim

Close-Range Gunfire around DC Schools
Samuel Bieler, Nancy G. La Vigne

Economic Opportunity

The First Year of Accelerating Opportunity: Implementation Findings from the States and Colleges
Anderson, Theresa, Lauren Eyster, Robert I. Lerman, Carol Clymer, Maureen Conway, and Marcela Montes

Higher Education Earning Premium: Value, Variation and Trends
Sandy Baum

Final Report on the Evaluation of the National Science Foundation Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation Program
Beatriz Chu Clewell, Clemencia Cosentino de Cohen, Nicole Deterding, and Lisa Tsui

Healthy Children and Families

Exploring Instability and Children’s Well Being: Insights from a Dialogue among Practitioners, Policymakers and Researchers
Gina Adams, Lisa Dubay

Chronic Violence: Beyond the Developments
Chantal Hailey and Megan Gallagher

CHA Residents and the Plan for Transformation
Susan J. Popkin, Megan Gallagher, Chantal Hailey, Elizabeth Davies, Larry Buron, and Christopher Hayes

A Decade of HOPE VI: Research Findings and Policy Challenges
Susan J. Popkin, Bruce Katz, Mary K. Cunningham, Karen D. Brown, Jeremy Gustafson, and Margery Austin Turner

From the Urban Wire

A perfect Mother's day gift
Margaret Simms

Breaking down barriers to help boys and young men of color succeed
Margaret Simms

Tearing down barriers to success for young men of color
Nancy LaVigne

Millions of black students attend public schools that are highly segregated by race and by income
Reed Jordan

Many DC children are struggling to breathe. Is bad communication to blame?
Marla McDaniel

Helping Fathers Become Better Parents
Margaret Simms

To gauge the health of your whole community, look to your teens
Laudy Aron

Research Areas Economic mobility and inequality Race and equity Race and equity
Tags Inequality and mobility Racial inequities in economic mobility
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population