Definition of Youth
The national youth policy (2003) of Jamaica defines youth as those between the ages of 15-24, “who [have] passed through the dependent stage of childhood, in the semi-independence of adolescence or who will soon acquire the maturity of adulthood.”
- Opposite Sex
- Same Sex
- Without parental consent
- with parental consent
Situation of Young People
- 94.21% Male (15-24) %
- 98.86% Female (15-24) %
- Year: 2015
- Source: UNESCO
Net Enrolment RateSecondary School
- 72.43%Male %
- 76.14% Female %
- Year: 2011
- Source: UNESCO
Situation of Young People
Policy & Legislation
The vision of the national youth policy (2003) is of:
...Jamaican youth realising [their] full potential, through access to opportunities, to develop, participate and contribute as responsible citizens, to a peaceful, prosperous and caring society.The policy focuses on six areas: Living Environments; Education and Training; Employment and Entrepreneurship; Health; Participation and Empowerment; Care and Protection. According to a press release on 12 January 2012, the youth policy is currently being revised and will focus on greater youth participation and employment opportunities. However, there is no detail of developments since 2012. As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Jamaica is a signatory of The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE) 2006-2015.
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
Youth and Representation
Budget & Spending
- % of GDP
- % of gov. expenditure
Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).
The Jamaican population continues to be very young: about 33% of the population are children and another 11.5% are adolescents and youth of 18-24 years. In 2008, the country’s population grew at a rate of 0.4% while the fertility rate was 2.38; both are marginally lower than the previous year. While 52% (stable over the last five years) of the population live in urban areas, more of the children live in rural areas.
The rate of migration continues to be high with over 17,500 migrants in 2008 and an average of 16,833 annually since 2006. In other words, over six Jamaicans migrate each year for every 1,000 persons in the population – this is one of the highest rates in the world.1 Migration contributes to the increased susceptibility of households to economic changes in other countries (due to reliance on remittances) and increased risks to child rights associated with lack of parental support.The 2012 Situation Assessment of Youth in Jamaica provides a useful insight into the key challenges faces young people:
The macroeconomic context: in a context of low growth and inequity, “youth are particularly affected by the attending structural constraints”. The data shows low labour force participation and high levels of unemployment, with attending social consequences.
Poverty, urban and rural: Poverty is often transmitted across generations, compromising the life chances of children to the elderly. However, there is concern that youth who consider themselves to be excluded from national production plans and who are frustrated by poverty may opt to find alternate - including underground - avenues to survive, with serious social and economic consequences.Education: Inequalities in education provision stunt youth who are disadvantaged by the system, also with considerable social and economic spin off effects.
Health and HIV AIDS: The data shows that within Jamaica’s socio-cultural context, (1) “adolescents suffer some of the most significant costs of the high rate of crime and violence that now seems endemic in Jamaica; (2) an increasing number of adolescents are referred to Child Guidance Clinics for mental health and behavioral problems; (3) adolescents are highly vulnerable to factors that promote negative reproductive health outcomes; and (4) social norms regarding sexuality and gender issues, such as sexual risk-taking and multiple partnerships have negative implications for the risk-taking behaviours of adolescent males and females.
Citizen security, community safety and access to justice: Young people are the major victims and perpetrators of crime and violence. Violence among youth in Jamaica constitutes a major public health challenge Violence is reproduced among youth, given the influence of both proximal (near environment/within family) and distal (far environment/community and beyond) factors