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2020-21: Annus horribilis for teens

By the Numbers


Illustration by Krieg Barrie

2020-21: Annus horribilis for teens
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44%

The share of teens who reported feeling “persistently sad and hopeless” according to an alarming survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the first half of 2021. Back in 2009, researchers polling high school students on the same question found just 26 percent confessing to despair. Released March 31, the survey of 7,705 high school students from across the country paints a grim picture of how adolescents coped with the unusual 2020-2021 school year and calls into question whether the benefit of pandemic measures outweighed the social cost borne by many students. The CDC’s findings echo an October 2021 declaration by the American Academy of Pediatrics of a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health

3.1%

The share of the 128 schools surveyed by the CDC that offered in-person only instruction with a vast majority operating a hybridized in-person and online model.

26%

The share of girls surveyed who said they had con­templated suicide within the ­previous year, nearly double the number reported by boys.

47%

The percentage of students surveyed who said they felt close to someone at school.

2 trillion

The number of in-person school hours lost to pandemic measures worldwide according to a March 30 estimate by UNICEF.

9 of 10

The number of teenagers who have smartphones according to The New York Times.

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