Gangs are appealing to some youths because they offer the youths a group to belong to that will give them the sense of belonging and importance that they yearn for.
Young people want to feel like they are valuable. One way to feel valuable is to belong to a group. In poorer parts of our society, family ties are sometimes weak. In addition, youths in those parts of our society have few educational opportunities or other ways to get a feeling of importance. Better-off youths can feel that they are valuable because of their family or because they know that they will be going to college, getting decent jobs, etc. In poorer segments of society, gangs are the easiest way to get these sorts of feelings.