There are 92,374 children and youth in Oakland under the age of 20. (26,099 children ages 0-5). Child poverty in Oakland increased more than 30% in the just three years 2007-2010. Oakland’s Latino population is the largest ethnic group with almost 100,000 residents (25% of Oakland’s Population), and comprises the largest ethnic group for children 0-20. 42.5% of Oakland’s 390,724 residents speak a language other than English as their primary language at home.
Education and Academics
Approximately one-third of children entering kindergarten are not prepared. In 2010-2011, of the 66,275 students enrolled in grades K-12 only 13,825 were English language learners. Most common language: Spanish (73.5%). Asian, Pacific Islanders and white students in Oakland feel unsafe in their schools, at a rate more than twice the state average. The graduation rate for OUSD students is 60%. Less than half of African American and Latino male students graduate from high school. Less than half of the students graduating from Oakland high schools (46.3%) enroll in college.
Health and Wellness
Over eight percent of all births in Oakland are to teenage mothers. Children make up the largest group of people receiving emergency food in Alameda County: 43% of food bank clients are children and teens. By ninth grade, only 19% of OUSD students are meeting the state-mandated healthy fitness zone criteria in all six areas compared to 39% of ninth grade students in California.
Crime, Gang Activity and Violence Affecting Youth
In Oakland, homicide is the leading cause of death for youth, with males being affected the most. In Oakland, African Americans are 24 times, Hispanics four times, and Asians three times more likely than whites to be arrested and booked into the Alameda Juvenile Justice Center. Gang activity is attributed with committing most of the acts of violent crime. Oakland gang membership: above 3,800; approximately 40% of all homicides in 2008 were directly gang-related.
Over 95% of the urban churches in the city of Oakland do not have full-time youth pastors, directors, or sustained youth programs to combat the cycle of hopelessness, destruction and violence.