What puts South Dakota's young people at risk? The same things affect the age group from 16 to 24 here, as they do elsewhere. The difference is to what degree and what are the results of that impact?

One in nine youths in that particular age group (16 to 24) aren't in school and aren't working either. Others have health issues that stop physical and social development.

Role models that used to be standard for most young people have to a large degree disappeared. Parents with addiction, unemployment, and economic issues often pass them down to their children and numerous unforeseen societal problems have surfaced because of this dysfunctional cycle.

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For instance, The Heritage Foundation examined a Pentagon study which revealed that:

71 percent of young Americans between 17 and 24 are ineligible to serve in the United States military.

Put another way: Over 24 million of the 34 million people of that age group cannot join the armed forces--even if they wanted to.

This shortage of military manpower directly affects national security.

Poverty, early pregnancy, and violence in young people are the result of a lack of role models and economic problems according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Wallet Hub compiled information from these sources and many others to determine where the most "at-risk" youths are in America.

South Dakota came in 20th. Better than over 50% of the other states and yet some of the results are distressing.

In the category of Education and Employment, South Dakota youths did very well, coming in 12th. The information in this section included the number of young people; with and without high school diplomas, the rate of teen pregnancy and poverty, and the number of homeless and incarcerated youths.

The material collected in the Health category gave South Dakota 34th place and indicated that improvement was needed.

The Health section collected information about the share of youth who had been fully vaccinated, were obese, were drinking alcohol excessively, using drugs, were depressed, and the number of young people who were isolated from activities due to mental, physical, or emotional problems.

To see this complete study, go to Wallet Hub's Most At-Risk Youths investigation.

Sources: Wallet Hub, The Heritage Foundation, and National Center for Biotechnology Information.