Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. R. Kirk Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel Palazzolo

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia Patterson


This thesis will identify patterns of black youth unemployment in the nation and in Virginia and analyze the problem in Virginia. The analysis involves identifying discrepancies in unemployment rates across counties and cities in Virginia, selecting cases in which black youth unemployment is relatively low, and exploring reasons for lower rates. The ultimate aim is to determine why some areas have lower black youth unemployment than others, and to use that information to suggest courses of action for treating the problem. The case studies of Virginia counties and cities reveal that under certain local environmental conditions, such as strong economies, a generous supply of service oriented occupations, small black youth populations and supportive programs, there is hope. While black youth unemployment is and always has been disproportionately higher than white youth unemployment, there are conditions under which the rates of unemployment are similar or even better for blacks.