Disadvantages and Inequalities among Contemporary Latin American Youth: Key Issues and Policy Challenges
Paper short abstract:
This paper identifies and analyzes the main issues affecting future opportunities of Latin American youth. Using recent statistics and qualitative researches, the paper examines key nodes of cumulative disadvantages during the transition to adulthood
Paper long abstract:
During the last three decades Latin American societies have experienced deep political, economic, social and even cultural transformations. In this new context, and as a result of some of those processes, youth has become today a particularly vulnerable period of the life course. Youngsters embodied some of the main dilemmas of a new "social question", which main feature is social inequality. Firstly, this paper explores some of the main contemporary demographic and socio-economic trends of Latin American youth. Secondly it focuses on some key issues of the current patterns of transition to adulthood: early pregnancy and marital unions; school drop-out; labor insecurity; illegal migration; institutional exclusion; and violence and crime. They are conceptualized as nodes of disadvantage -that is, key links in a chain of cumulative disadvantages. The result of these processes is a growing gap in life opportunities of the youngest generations and the risk of social exclusion or a second class citizenship for a significant sector of disadvantaged youth. The paper concludes with some policy recommendations, emphasizing the need of a dual approach in youth social policies and programs that should take into account both rights and risks.
Child and youth development: problems, perspective and dimensions in the 21st century