Positive Youth Development Research

For more than 10 years, 4‑H has partnered with Tufts University to study the effectiveness of its youth development programs.

This first of its kind research study found that 4‑H’s unique hands-on approach gives kids the opportunity to learn by doing and build life skills.

4‑H Study of Positive Youth Development is a longitudinal study that began in 2002 and was repeated annually for eight years, surveying more than 7,000 adolescents from diverse backgrounds across 42 U.S. states.

Download the research findings below.

Tufts Positive Youth Development Research Reports

Full Report

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Wave 9 Report

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Fact Sheet

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Positive Youth Development Student Questionnaire

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Alumni Research: 4‑H Experience Leads to Success in Life

A national online survey of more than 6,000 former 4‑H members suggests alumni benefit significantly from their 4‑H experience over the course of their lives — socially, physically, emotionally and economically. The study was fielded May 15 – July 22, 2019 by Edge Research and funded by National 4‑H Council.

Download the research findings below.

Alumni Research Report

Survey Infographic

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Presentation of Survey Findings

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Packaged design files are available for 4‑H Extension to download. To download packaged design files, users will be asked to log in to the Marketing Online Resource Center.

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National 4‑H Council partnered with the Harris Poll to capture insights about what young people are thinking, saying and doing about issues, attitudes and trends that are shaping them today and tomorrow. These results help us keep a finger on the pulse of teen perspectives and inform the work we do.

4‑H Teens & Racial Injustice Survey

New Survey Finds That 83 Percent of Teens Acknowledge That Systemic Racism is an Issue and They Want to be Included in the National Conversation Around Social Justice

National 4‑H Council commissioned a survey to gain a deeper understanding of teens perspectives on racism and their opinions on the current protests and social justice movement. The survey was conducted online from July 2 to July 9, 2020 with 1,000 respondents ages 13-19.
Download the full survey results below.

Key Findings

  • 83% of teens acknowledge systemic racism is an issue in the U.S., causing them to feel angry, overwhelmed and stressed.
  • Black and Hispanic teens are much more likely to have experienced mistreatment because of their race, with Blacks being especially likely to fear for their safety.
  • Teens are rallying around the issue, with 86% saying they are “proud that people are taking a stand protecting against racism” and two-thirds saying they “need people to hear their voice about racism.” This is particularly true for Black (82%) and Hispanic (76%) teens who are looking to be heard.
  • 3 in 4 teens have taken action against racism, either via conversation or demonstration.
  • Teens are calling for racism education in school and government reform to create more equal access as avenues for long-term change.
  • 82% of teens acknowledge “there is still so much work to be done in the fight against racism, this is just the start.”
  • 70% of teens (81% Black) feel encouraged that the current movement and protests will lead to less racism in the U.S.

Survey Infographic

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4‑H Teens & Racial Injustice Survey

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4‑H Youth Mental Health Survey

National 4‑H Council commissioned a survey to explore teens’ perceptions and experiences around mental health. The survey, which polled over 1,500 diverse youth ages 13-19 nationwide, explored the role of resilience in mental health along with gathering youth perspectives on the state of mental health issues in their community and the nation.

Key findings include:

  • 81% of teens say mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S., and 64% of teens believe that the experience of COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their generation’s mental health.
  • In this stressful climate, 7 in 10 teens have experienced struggles with mental health.
  • 55% of teens say they’ve experienced anxiety, 45% excessive stress, and 43% depression.
  • Download the full research findings below.

Full PDF Report

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Summary Graphic Download

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4‑H Youth Healthy Habits Survey

A survey commissioned by National 4‑H Council explores teen perceptions around health and nutrition. The survey, which polled over 1,500 diverse youth between the ages of 13-19 nationwide, investigated youth perceptions on the topics of food access, nutrition and health equity.

Key findings include:

  • 68 percent of teens say they satisfy their hunger with junk food because it’s more accessible to them at school than healthy food.
  • Most teens (66%) are spending more time deciding what they want to watch on Netflix and YouTube than thinking about what they eat.
  • 85 percent say junk food is more accessible and cost effective, which usually drives decision making for their families and friends.
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4-H mom and youth doing yoga

4‑H & Microsoft Digital Impact Survey

National 4‑H Council and Microsoft teamed up to explore digital access among teens through a national survey. The survey, which polled over 1,500 youth between the ages of 13-19 nationwide, investigated how lack of broadband internet access affects their social mobility and economic opportunities.

Key findings include:

  • 1 in 4 American teens have Broadband connections that are unreliable
  • Nearly half of teens report struggling to complete homework due to slow internet connections.
  • 79% of teens with broadband access expect to have a higher income than their parents, while only 66% of teens without broadband access felt this way.
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4-H youth doing a coding activity

4‑H Science Research

During 2007 and 2008, 4‑H National Headquarters and National 4‑H Council began work with the nation’s Land-Grant Universities (LGU) to develop a plan of action for 4‑H Science programming and outline the LGUs’ goals, objectives and strategies for implementing 4‑H Science within their states. National 4‑H Council also contracted independent researchers to evaluate the outcomes of the 4‑H Science initiatives.

Conducted in the fall/winter of 2008, Evaluating the 4‑H Science Initiative was designed to evaluate six major areas of LGUs and their implementation 4‑H Science programming

In early 2009, 4‑H also evaluated and measured the youth experience in the areas of science, engineering, technology and applied math (STEM), resulting in the Youth, Engagement, Attitudes and Knowledge (YEAK) Report.

4‑H Programs Attract Youth to STEM

4‑H STEM programs are proven to get kids excited about science by offering fun, hands-on activities which builds confidence and fosters interest in STEM-related careers.

4‑H STEM Infographics

STEM 1 - The State of American Youth

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STEM 2 - The State of America's Workforce

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STEM 3 - 4‑H Hands-On Programs Attract Youth to STEM

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STEM 4 - Top Ways to Attract Youth to STEM

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National 4‑H Science Initiative

Evaluating the 4‑H Science Initiative

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4‑H Science Logic Model

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A Multi-Tiered Approach to Evaluating a Nonformal Youth Development Program

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YEAK Study

Year 3 Full Report

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Year 3 Brochure

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Year 2 Full Report

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Year 2 Brochure

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Year 1 Full Report

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Year 1 Brochure

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Implementation Study

Year 3 Implementation – Full Report

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Year 3 Implementation – Brochure

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Year 2 Implementation – Full Report

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Year 2 Implementation – Brochure

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Year 1 Implementation – Full Report

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Year 1 Implementation – Brochure

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Enrollment Report

Year 4 Enrollment Report

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Year 3 Enrollment Report

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Year 2 Enrollment Report

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Tier 2 Study: Priming the Pipeline

Lessons from Promising 4‑H Science Programs

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Brochure

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National 4‑H Science Initiative

Summary Observations from an Evaluation

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4‑H Science Initiative from Inception to Impact

4‑H Science Initiative from Inception to Impact, a comprehensive new report which reviews the multi-year impact of the 4‑H efforts, lessons learned and ideas for developing more promising programs in the future. The initiative has been a truly collaborative effort, led by 4‑H National Headquarters, land-grant faculty from the Cooperative Extension System and National 4‑H Council.

Full Report

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Executive Summary

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4‑H Healthy Habits White Paper: Walmart Foundation

Walmart’s investment of over $13 million across the last decade has provided more than 1 million youth and families with important nutrition education. The investment has also built the capacity of 4‑H educators, providing them with tools and training to help them reach underserved audiences in African, Latino and Native American communities with culturally relevant programming.

4‑H Healthy Habits White Paper

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Healthy Habits White Paper Reflection

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Teens Take on Health Resources

Executive Summary: Teens Take On Health

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Teens Take On Health Comprehensive Report

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Study of Teens Take On Health Initiative

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Teens Take On Health Infographic

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Teens Take On Health Video Finalists

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Additional Healthy Living Research

Provides best practices and an assessment of needs in the 4‑H Healthy Living programming.

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Healthy Living Research Complete Literature Review

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Dr. Laura Downey and Dr. Donna Peterson from Mississippi State University conducted an environmental scan of 4‑H Healthy Living Programs in healthy eating, physical activity and alcohol-drug-tobacco intervention in 2013, identifying 78 programs. Of these, 20 were identified as having strong evidence for national replication.

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Professional and Volunteer Needs Assessment

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Walmart and United Healthcare Combined Data Summary

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