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Socio-demographic analysis of youth in the Caribbean- a three country case study

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Socio-demographic analysis of youth in the Caribbean- a three country case study

Autor institucional: NU. CEPAL. Sede Subregional para el Caribe Descripción física: 24 páginas. Editorial: ECLAC, Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean Data: novembro 2008 Signatura: LC/CAR/L.180


Many Caribbean youth are doing reasonably well. They live in loving and caring
families, attend school and are involved in various social activities in their communities. The
health and well-being of the children and youth1 in the Caribbean is, and has been, the centre of
attention of many studies, meetings and policy directives set at the regional, subregional and
national levels. Programmes have been put in place to address the basic needs of young children
in the areas of health and education and to provide guidance and directives to youth and
adolescents in the area of professional formation and transition to adulthood. Critical issues such
as reproductive health and family planning combined with access to education and information
on these topics have been promoted to some extent. And finally, the Caribbean is known for
rather high school enrolment rates in primary education that hardly show any gender disparities.
While the situation is still good for some, growing numbers of children and youth cannot
cope anymore with the challenges experienced quite early in their lives. Absent parents, instable
care-taking arrangements, violence and aggression subjected to at home, in schools and among
their friends, lack of a perspective in schools and the labour-market, early sexual initiation and
teenage pregnancies are some of those issues faced by a rising number of young persons in this
part of the world. Emotional instability, psychological stress and increased violence are one of
the key triggers for increased violence and involvement in crime exhibited by ever younger
youth and children. Further, the region is grappling with rising drop-out rates in secondary
education, declining quality schooling in the classrooms and increasing numbers of students who
leave school without formal certification. Youth unemployment in the formal labour market is
high and improving the quality of professional formation along with the provision of adequate
employment opportunities would be critical to enable youth to complete consistently and
effectively the transition into adulthood and to take advantage of the opportunities to develop and
use their human capital in the process.
On a rather general note, the region does not suffer from a shortage of policies and
programmes to address the very specific needs of children and youth, but the prominent and
severe lack of systematic analysis and monitoring of the situation of children, youth and young
families in the Caribbean does not allow for targeted and efficient interventions that promise
successful outcomes on the long term. In an effort to assist interested governments to fill this
analytical gap, various initiatives are underway to enhance data collection and their systematic
analysis2. Population and household censuses are conducted every decade and a variety of
household surveys, such as surveys of living conditions, labour force surveys and special surveys
focusing on particular sub-groups of the population are conducted, dependent on the resources
available, to a varying degree in the countries of the region. One such example is the United
Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)-funded Multi-Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) that assess
the situation of children and youth in a country. Over the past years and at present, UNICEF has launched a series of surveys in a number of countries in the Caribbean3. But more needs to be
done to ensure that the data available is analyzed to provide the empirical background
information for evidence-based policy formulation and monitoring of the efficiency and
effectiveness of the efforts undertaken.


.--I. Demographic overview.--II. Economic framework.--III. Living arrangements and household composition.--IV. Religious affiliation.--V. Health and well-being.--VI. Migration.--VII. Education.--VIII. Professional training and labour force participation.--IX. Marriage and family formation.--X. Summary and conclusions