Teen Learning Disability Statistics

Teen learning disabilities have a profound effect on our society. Out of the 20 million kids who cannot read at grade level, nine million (that’s almost half) have a learning disability. As children develop into teenagers, their learning disabilities become more profound. And, if the problem is not identified and solved, it can lead to frustration with school, poor performance and even dropping out.

In addition to affecting the teenager, teen learning disabilities also have an effect on society. Substance abuse, joblessness, welfare and even criminal behavior can be outgrowths of frustrations felt due to teen learning disabilities. It is estimated that learning disabilities cost society right around $7.5 billion each year. Getting help for teens with learning disabilities should be a high priority.

Quick Facts: Teen Learning Disabilities & Education

Teen learning disabilities can affect school performance. They can even prompt teens to drop out of school. However, it is relatively low-cost to help teens with learning disabilities learn how to cope with them.

  • 2.4 million American public school students have a learning disability
  • 80 percent of teen learning disabilities have to do with reading
  • 66% of students with a learning disability are male
  • 1/3 of students with a learning disability have been held back a grade at least once
  • 19% of teenagers with learning disabilities drop out of high school
  • 12% of teenagers with learning disabilities earn only a high school certificate of completion
  • Special education costs, on average, right around $10,000 per year per teen

Teen Statistics: Joblessness & Teen Learning Disabilities

Teenage learning disabilities can affect the way a teen does a job for the rest of his or her life. Without learning the skills necessary to overcome the disability, a teen may find that he or she has lifelong trouble getting and maintaining employment.

  • Only 46% of working-age adults with a learning disability are employed
  • 8% of working-age adults with a learning disability are unemployed
  • 46% of working-age adults with a learning disability are not in the work force
  • 76% of those employed earned less than $25,000 per year

Teen Learning Disabilities & Crime

Frustrations associated with teen learning disabilities can be the root of substance abuse problems and criminal, or even violent behavior. Getting help for learning disabilities can result in less crime and fewer substance abuse problems.

  • 60 percent of teens being treated for substance abuse have learning disabilities
  • 50 percent of delinquent juveniles have learning disabilities that have not been detected
  • The rate of learning disabilities among criminal offenders is 50 percent
  • 55 percent of teens with learning disabilities have some involvement with the criminal justice system within 8 years after high school
  • 32 percent of these teens have been arrested
  • It costs $31,000 per year, per offender, to take care of a criminal offender

Costs of Teen Learning Disabilities

It is possible to save both monetary and societal costs when the problem of teen learning disabilities is addressed. By investing $10,000 per year for the six years that a teen is in school in order to help him or her compensate for a learning disability, we could save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a teen by giving him or her the tools to stay out of jail. Learning disabilities, when properly acknowledged and treated, are not permanent stumbling blocks. Teenagers who get help for their learning disabilities can go on to be fully participating and healthy members of society.

Teen Learning Disability Statistic Sources:

  1.  “Alarming LD Statistics,” The Haan Foundation. [Online.]
  2.  “The State of Learning Disabilities”, National Center for Learning Disabilities. [Online]