very interesting article on the rise of youth cultures — or really, the emergence of adolescence — in developing nations around the world.
Currently, the total population of 10- to 24-year-olds is estimated at 1.5 billion, of which 86 percent live in developing countries. The growth is most rapid in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Call it a new wave of global baby boomers who are, in some instances, the first true generation of “teenagers” their countries have known.
Lloyd calls adolescence – or what Americans call the teenage years – a “relatively new life cycle phase” for many developing countries. Previously, young people tended to move directly from childhood to adulthood. Adult status was much more tied to physical changes, such as puberty, she says.
Spurred by improved health care, the onset of puberty is also declining for young people in many developing countries – from about 15 to 12 years of age. That trend, along with economic and technological gains, has affected cultural practices tied to puberty and delayed employment, marriage and childbearing while increasing time spent in school.
“All of these things have created a phase of adolescence that’s new and, in many ways, unfamiliar,” says Lloyd, a director of social research at the Population Council. Her areas of expertise include transition to adulthood and, of particular interest, school quality in developing countries.
(ht to ypulse)