State of Girls

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Read the latest report

The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Trends and Troubling Truths

The third edition of this landmark report focuses on national- and state-level trends across key indicators affecting girls' overall well-being.

The findings suggest that, regardless of an increase in high school graduation rates, economic conditions affecting girls in the United States have not fully recovered from the Great Recession. These conditions are leading to increased emotional and physical distress among girls, with obesity, marijuana use, and low self-esteem on the rise.

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Download Executive Summary (PDF)


The State of Girls data highlights:

Health and Well-Being: Girls are struggling with obesity, marijuana use, and emotional health.

  • Obesity rates have increased for girls ages 2 to 19 from 15.9 percent in 2008 to 17.2 percent in 2014.
  • More girls are trying marijuana; about 37 percent of high school girls had ever tried marijuana in 2015, an increase from 34 percent in 2007.
  • Girls' emotional health is at risk — a higher proportion of high school girls seriously considered suicide in 2015 (23 percent), compared to 2007 (19 percent).

Demographics: The face of the American girl is changing.

  • American girls are more racially and ethnically diverse today than before the recession. About half of U.S. girls are white, and a quarter are Latina.
  • One-fourth (26 percent) of all school-age girls in the United States are a first- or second-generation immigrant. This number has risen since 2007 (when it was 23 percent).

Economics: Poverty rates for girls have risen since 2007.

  • In 2015, 19 percent of girls ages 5 to 17 lived in poverty, compared to 17 percent in 2007. Poverty rates increased for girls across all racial and ethnic groups.
  • In 2015, American Indian girls were the most likely to live in poverty (33 percent), followed by black girls (31 percent), Latinas (29 percent), multiracial girls (13 percent), Asian American girls (13 percent), and white girls (12 percent).

Education: More girls are graduating from high school.

  • The high school dropout rate has decreased for girls in recent years, particularly Latina girls.
    • In 2007, 8 percent of girls and women ages 16 to 24 had dropped out of high school, but by 2014, that figure decreased to 6 percent.
    • Latina youth experienced the largest decline in dropout rates during the same 2007–2014 period, from 18 percent to 9 percent.
  • States Where Girls Thrive*

    1. New Hampshire
    2. Utah
    3. Minnesota
    4. Vermont
    5. South Dakota
  • States Where Girls Struggle*

    46. Nevada
    47. Tennessee
    48. Louisiana
    49. New Mexico
    50. Mississippi

*According to key indicator measurements, including poverty rates and emotional and physical well-being

Download Executive Summary (PDF) See additional GSRI Research Reports


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