Definition of Youth

The Ministry of Youth defines youth as those aged 15 to 35 years of age. The National Youth Law (2000) refers to young people aged 10 to 35.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • --

  • No specific law for same-sex marriage. Homosexual acts legal. Source: UNFPA (2012), ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Code of Children and Adolescentsof Dominican Republic

Voting Age


Individuals under 18 who are married are also eligible to vote. Voting is compulsory.
Source:  Inter-Parliamentary Union

Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 97.26% Male (15-24) %
  • 98.61% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 57.80%Male %
  • 66.50% 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) %
  • 18.40% Male (13-15) %
  • 11.90% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
The Dominican Republic has a youth law from 2000, monitored by regular youth policy reports.

The Dominican Republic formally approved a national youth policy in January 1998 and enacted a General Youth Law (Ley 49-00) in August 2000. According to a report by RED Nacional de Acción Juvenil (2011), the General Youth Law is the main legislative tool for youth and was introduced in order to promote the comprehensive development of young people. The national youth policy of 1998-2003 outlined policies in seven priority areas (health, culture, education, training, community participation, legislation, and sports and recreation), and sets out strategies for achieving the policies goals. Reference has been made to a national public policy for the development of Dominican Youth (2008-2015), however this is not currently available online or from the Ministry of Youth.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The mission of the Ministry of Youth (MJ) was established following the enactment of General Youth Law (Ley 49-00) (2000). The aim of the MJ is to promote the development of young people aged 15-35 through effective coordination and involvement of youth in decision-making. The MJ has responsibility for defining, monitoring and evaluating national-level youth policies, cooperating and coordinating the work of other government agencies addressing youth issues, and coordinating youth activities at the provincial and local level.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
In March 2014, the Ministry of Youth (MJ) announced that 11 municipal youth councils had been established, despite the law providing for 154. The General Youth Law (Ley 49-00) (2000) provides for the creation of municipal, regional and national youth councils. The National Program for the Formation of Youth Councils  (PNCCJ) aims to strengthen the development, implementation and monitoring of youth policy through coordination between the national, regional and municipal levels.  The youth councils serve as consultative and advisory boards for government and private sector organisations.

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?
DOP 327.4 million
USD 7.6 million
In 2013, the budget for the Ministry of Youth was DOP 327.4 million (USD 7.6 million ), an increase of 1% percent on the 2012 allocation (DOP 324.3 million/USD 7.5 million). According to the World Bank, Dominican Republic spent 11.02% of its government expenditure and 2.19% of its GDP on education provision in 2007. More recent data is not available.
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

From RED Nacional de Accion Juvenil’s Report on Youth Policies (2011) (Original in Spanish, own translation):
It is certain that a ministry with a budget of DOP 300 million should be able to contribute significantly to the solution of national problems. But with the ministry of youth the opposite happens. ...Being one of the few countries in the American continent with a Ministry of Youth should be a privilege for the young people of our country. However, the opposite is true, the Ministry remains indifferent to the problems that affect youth, and has been unable to develop and achieve the implementation of public policies that counteract the painful reality of living young Dominicans (such as high rates of unemployment, school and university dropout, social inequality and political violence).
From the World Bank Children and Youth report on Improving Employability for At-Risk Youth(2006):
In the late 1990s, the Dominican Republic (DR) boasted one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, until 2003, when the country suffered a banking crisis and sub- sequent economic stagnation. For Dominican youth, this resulted in an increase in the unemployment rate from 23% in 2001 to more than 30% by the end of 2003. Coupled with one of the region’s poorest performing education systems, increasing numbers of poor youth found themselves out of school and jobless. Only 53% of Dominican youth ever complete primary school. What is more, the net enrolment rate at the secondary level is a paltry 35%. The main reasons cited for school leaving in the DR are the need to earn money, early marriage or pregnancy, and a perceived irrelevance of the education.
In response, the Ministry of Education is investing in overall improvements to the education system.
From USAID/Dominican Republic Cross-Sectoral At-Risk Youth Assessment (2010):
[I]n 2008 youth ages 10‐24 represented a quarter of the total labor force in the DR and 43 percent of the total unemployed population. Job creation for young people primarily takes place in the informal sector where wages are reported to be 44 percent lower than in the formal economy. [...] [R]eproductive and sexual health are the two priority issues for young people. Risky behaviours, such as multiple sex partners, unsafe sexual practices, and/or the use of drugs and alcohol play a significant role in the health profile of Dominican youth. There is a high incidence of teen pregnancy (26% in rural areas and 18% in urban areas), and a negative relationship has been observed between teenage pregnancy and education and socio-economic status.