Education, Work and Reproductive Health among Adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean


Investments in education, work, and the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and youth contribute to their human development and autonomy, and guarantee that they will have their own resources and pensions for old age. In Latin America and the Caribbean 100 million adolescents aged 10 to 19 years demand schools and teachers in secondary education, employment and health services. This work describes and analyses the situation of adolescents and youths in these three areas of interest, as a basis for defining priorities and the integration of policies oriented to take advantage of the demographic bonus and to enhance the sustainability of future dignified ageing for youth generations. Since Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with the highest inequality rates in the world, investing in demographic dividend can also contribute to decreasing inequalities in the long term. Secondary data from censuses, surveys and international organizations are analysed to relate to the three relevant issues of interest. Most than half of teens in Central America, and between 20% and 40% of adolescents in South America leave school before completing secondary level education and most of them receive poor quality education, 20% of them do not study or work and some are trapped in a triad of problems: the secondary school dropout, unemployment, informal and unprotected work and adolescent pregnancy. Despite the decline in adolescent fertility rates, they continue to be up to seven times higher among the less educated. Unemployment rates are three times higher for young people than for adults, half of them work in informal and low skilled jobs. The relationship between health, education, employment, poverty and inequalities demonstrates the need to strengthen and integrate policies of inclusion at school and at work, as well as special protection and social security for adolescents and youth.

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Gomes, C. (2013). Education, Work and Reproductive Health among Adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean. Advances in Applied Sociology, 3, 142-150. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2013.32019.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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