their homes, or been arrested. There were an estimated 1.5 million runaway children in 1988 (Children's Defense Fund, 1988). About 26 percent of runaways seen in a medical outpatient clinic reported that they had traded sex for drugs at some time (Yates et al., 1988). A study of homeless adolescents in Northern California found that those who chose to remain on the street and use no services reported high levels of involvement in illegal activities: 88 percent panhandled, 62 percent stole, 50 percent sold drugs, and 42 percent engaged in prostitution (Stanford Center for the Study of Families, Children, and Youth, 1991).
The Drug Use Forecasting Program of the U.S. Department of Justice collects information on drug use and other illegal activity from individuals who have recently been arrested.9 In 1996, 19 percent of young arrestees reported that their primary source of income was from legal full-or part-time work; the primary source of income from drug dealing was reported by 5.8 percent, from other illegal activity by 3.2 percent, and from prostitution by 0.1 percent (Golub, 1997).
Minority adolescents have consistently been found to be less likely to be employed than white adolescents. In 1995, 18.8 percent of young African Americans had jobs, compared with 38.6 percent of young whites (data from 1995 CPS March Supplement). Ahituv et al. (1997), using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, found that African Americans also had their first jobs at later ages than whites. By the age of 15, 22.2 percent of whites, 23.1 percent of Hispanics, and only 16.4 percent of African Americans had held their first job. By age 17, 82.8 percent of whites, 79.1 percent of Hispanics, and 69.5 percent of African Americans had job experience. However, the detailed analysis found that the racial and ethnic distinctions resulted largely from group differences in family socioeconomic characteristics. Adolescents from poorer families living in economically disadvantaged locales were less likely to have