A study of more than 1,700 Black and Hispanic young adults found that the majority value education, believe in a higher power and support marriage.
The study, entitled the Inner City Truth 3 Survey, was conducted by Motivational Educational Entertainment (MEE) Productions in Philadelphia. The MEE website called the study “A Unique Look into the Urban Multicultural Youth Market.”

Similar studies were conducted in 2002 and 2008 giving surveyors the opportunity to track trends over an 11-year period. The subjects were young African Americans and Latinos in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles/Long Beach and Oakland/Richmond (Ca.). They were tested over a five-month period.

The website said the participants included 830 Latino/Hispanic (48 percent); 797 African American/Black (46 percent) and 94 “Other”—4 percent. They included 881 females, 836 males and four who did not specify a gender. Most of the youths—588—lived in L.A./Long Beach; 363 lived in Philadelphia; 307 lived in Chicago; 271 lived in Atlanta; and 192 lived in Oakland/Richmond.

Participants were questioned in mid-2013 about issues including health, education and aspirations of youth, among other topics.

“If we really want to be effective in changing the life outcomes of today’s youth of color, we have to understand their dreams, worldview, motivations and culture,” said MEE President Ivan Juzang in the statement. “We need to know why they do things they do and what struggles they face day-to-day, so that we can reach them in a way that shows we have paid attention to and acknowledged their realities.”

He called urban African American and Hispanic young people “America’s youngest trendsetters,” in everything from music and fashion to “media consumption and social behaviors,” the statement said.

William Juzang, MEE’s vice president, confirmed the study’s results. He told the AFRO the study was conducted for several non-profit groups, including the California Endowment, the Advancement Project, the United Negro College Fund and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

According to a summary, the study found:

•Urban youth of color (UYC) value education as the door to future success; they are enrolled in school and plan to continue beyond high school.

• UYC believe both in themselves and a higher power to make things happen.

• UYC are intensely connected to digital technology via the Internet and smart phones; it replaces face-to-face time as a favored way to keep in touch with friends.

• Despite media portrayals…and despite living in high-risk environments where they have been exposed to significant amounts of violence, the vast majority of African American males have not been perpetrators of violence.

• Latina females were overwhelmingly the least satisfied with their bodies and were the most likely to report being bullied.

• UYC still have goals of marriage someday and believe that pregnancies should be planned

The study attempted to provide insight into UYC worldviews, thoughts on education, lifestyle trends, views on relationships and sexuality and use of online and social media.

“Once again, MEE gives us insights into a group of young people whose views are critical, but are either misunderstood or absent from larger national conversations about the issues that affect their lives,” said Marisa Nightingale, senior media advisor at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “The ICT3 survey findings make it clear that urban youth of color have goals and aspirations that are quite similar to those held by youth from other backgrounds. This clear look into the lives of urban youth of color will inform and inspire those who are working to improve the lives of all young people for years to come.” 

Zachary Lester

AFRO Staff Writer