Publication: Argentina - Today's Youth : An Untapped Potential

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Argentina's youth 6.7 million between the ages of 15 and 24 are an important, but to a certain extent untapped, resource for development. Over 2 million (31 percent) have already engaged in risky behaviors, and another 1 million (15 percent) are exposed to risk factors that are correlated with eventual risky behaviors. This totals 46 percent of youth at some form of risk. This note addresses these issues and draws on to findings of a recently completed World Bank report aiming at generating, consolidating and sharing knowledge about the risks faced by youth in Argentina as well as the policy options for addressing them. Today's youth cohort is the country's largest ever and it's largest for the foreseeable future. If policymakers do not invest in youth now especially in youth at risk they will miss a unique opportunity to equip the next generation with the abilities to become the drivers of growth, breaking the intergenerational spiral of poverty and inequality and moving Argentina back into the group of high-income countries. If youth are educated and skilled, they can be a tremendous asset for development. If not, they can burden society and public finances. Argentines are well educated, with an advanced education system when compared with most of Latin America. Argentina has made great progress since the 1980s: enrollment in primary education is nearly universal and average educational attainment has increased, reaching 10.4 years in 2005 (compared with the regional average of 5.9 years and East Asia's average of 7.6 years). The government is to be commended for maintaining high enrollments through difficult times. However, significant differences in educational outcomes persist by wealth and location. While less than 1 percent of 6-17-year olds from the richest 20 percent of households are not in school, this number rises to 8.2 percent for those from the poorest 20 percent of households. Children and youth in rural areas have a higher probability of dropping out than those in urban areas.
Verner, Dorte. 2008. Argentina - Today's Youth : An Untapped Potential. en breve; No. 115. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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