Definition of Youth

While the national youth policy (2007) recognises youth as a “segment of the life span” covering 0-35 years, the policy particularly focuses on youth between 12-30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 15
  • XX
  • Female
  • 18
  • 15
  • XX

  • Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Juvenile Act of Antigua and Barbuda

Majority Age


Source: The Age of Majority Act (1984)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 71.98%Male %
  • 84.98% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 24.30% Male (13-15) %
  • 15.90% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
The national youth policy & agenda of Antigua & Barbuda was adopted in 2007.

The national youth policy envisions young people having, "all the opportunities to develop all of his or her innate talents and whose self actualization is supported by caring adults and a close knit community." It proposes the adoption of a “Positive Youth Development Model” that, “recognizes young people as critical and positive elements in their own [development] and in national development.” The policy has eight strategic objectives:

  1. Strengthening Social Environments
  2. Education and Training
  3. Employment & Sustainable Livelihoods
  4. Health
  5. Participation & Empowerment
  6. Care and Protection
  7. Crime, Violence & Rehabilitation
  8. Gender Equality & Gender Relations
As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Antigua and Barbuda is a signatory of The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE) 2006-2015.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of Education, Sports, Youth and Gender Affairs (MoESY&GA) has a Youth Department. The ‘A & B Department of Youth Affairs’ has more recent news entries and information than the (currently unavailable) official MoESY&GA website. The national youth policy notes:

The Department of Youth Affairs is the governmental agency charged with the responsibility of national youth development.

The policy also calls for a National Youth Development Steering Committee, "comprising youth, critical government ministries and agencies and representative youth development organizations."

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The national youth policy calls for the creation of a national youth council but it has yet to be established. In 2012, a consultation event organised by the National Youth Ambassador and Volunteer Corps was advertised on the official government website. The Department for Youth Affairs has also advertised for applications to the National Youth Ambassadors Corps. The relationship between these differing youth entities is unclear. Young people are represented regionally though the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors and globally through the Commonwealth Youth Council.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the 2013 Budget Statement for Antigua and Barbuda, the allocated budget for the Ministry of Education, Sports, Youth and Gender Affairs was XCD 84.4 million (USD 31.2 million). It is unclear what proportion of this amount is specifically for youth. According to the World Bank, Antigua and Barbuda spent 9.80% of its government expenditure and 2.50% of its GDP on education provision in 2009.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

The national youth policy (2007) outlines the challenges facing young people in Antigua and Barbuda:

It is within this complex socio‐cultural ‘hodge‐podge’ that our young people struggle each day to find their place, grappling with issues of sexuality, violence, education and vocational concerns, unemployment, disenchantment with the status quo, disconnect with adults, all in a culture that is permissive yet restrictive and punitive.

Our social reality is no longer simple, and the solutions relative to our ‘youth crisis’ are not simple either, nor will real change be evidenced overnight. One thing is evident though, that the solution lies in the realignment of our social values to reflect community spirit and social responsibility, respect, tolerance, justice, gender equality and the active engagement of young people.

The “Positive Youth Development model” is further explained:

The National Youth Policy proposes a Positive Youth Development Model. This new paradigm recognizes young people as critical and positive elements in their own and in national development. It is a positive, holistic approach that addresses the development needs of the young person, and puts young people and their families at the heart of development initiatives. Moreover, positive youth development is about building resiliency and connectedness; about building competencies and developing the skills and attitudes young people need to take part in society, now and in the future. It is important to note that this Model contrasts sharply with the deficits models which focus on simple “quick fix‐it” interventions and see young people as problems instead of assets.

Further it is recognized that positive youth development takes place in four (4) interconnected social environments (home, school, peer networks, work environments); and so any initiative geared towards youth development must of necessity consider the operating forces within these environments. Youth development initiatives must also have as their focus the strengthening of the positive forces and elimination of negative forces within these environments.