Definition of Youth

According to the National Youth Programme 2014-2018, youth are those between 12 and 29 years as defined in the Law of the Mexican Institute of Youth (2006).


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • ++
  • Female
  • 18
  • 14
  • ++

  • Each federal state has its own civil code for marriage and exceptions exist. Civil unions are legal nationally, and same-sex marriage is legal in Mexico City and Quintana Roo. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Minimum age of criminal responsibility varies across states, however the Young Offenders Federal Act covers youth beginning at age 11. Source:  Young Offenders Federal Act of Mexico

Majority Age


Source: Federal Civil Code (1928)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 98.87% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.21% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 66.42%Male %
  • 69.38% 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) %
  • 27.80% Male (13-15) %
  • 28.50% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Mexico has a youth programme for 2014-2018, after a nation-wide consultation to renew the 2008-2012 programme.

Mexico’s National Youth Programme 2014-2018 was released in April 2014 after a comprehensive consultation through public forums, an online survey, mobile consultation units, a video submission contest, roundtable discussions with stakeholders and online discussion boards. The programme identifies four main objectives:

  • Prosperity (education, employment & housing)
  • Welfare (physical, emotional and social development)
  • Participation
  • Inclusion
Each objective has a series of strategies and action items. The programme includes several success indicators, containing both a baseline measurement from 2013 and a goal for 2018.  Indicators include Mexico’s score in the Youth Development Index (a measure developed by The Commonwealth) and percentage of the youth population who have been a victim in a crime.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Mexican Institute of Youth (IMJUVE) is the main federal governmental agency responsible for young people. Established by the Law of the Mexican Institute of Youth (2006), its main responsibilities include defining and implementing youth policy, proposing special programmes to the Federal Executive concerning indigenous youth, and promoting coordination among different departments and agencies in the area of youth. The law also mandates a Monitoring Board for Projects and Programmes, composed of ten Mexican youth, who will monitor projects and make recommendations.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
Mexico has no national and/or regional youth councils and no apparent permanent structures for youth involvement in decision-making. However, youth participation was emphasised in the consultation processes in the development of the National Youth Programme 2014-2018. National consultations took place for the first time in the development of a youth policy. The Law of the Mexican Institute of Youth (2006) also mandates a Monitoring Board for Projects and Programmes, comprised of ten young people selected by IMJUVE involved in monitoring and providing feedback.

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?
MXN 340.8 million
USD 25.5 million
The Mexican Institute of Youth (IMJUVE) budget for 2013 was MXN 340.8 million (USD 25.5 million). According to the World Bank, Mexico spent 21.59% of its government expenditure on education provision in 2007, and 5.28% of its GDP in 2010.
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 the IMJUVE website (English version) (2011):  
[...] Thus the IMJUVE, operates from 6 January 1999 in accordance with the Act published in the Official Gazette, aims to define and implement a national policy for youth, and people aged 12 to 29 years age, and mainstreamed into the development of the country, so emphatic in organization, health, employment and training, prevention of addictions and others. Some powers are implementing actions to the public recognition and dissemination of outstanding activities, including National Awards for Youth and Indigenous Youth, among others.
The Mexican Youth Institute aims to:
  • Define and implement a national youth policy to enable youth to fully integrate the country’s development;
  • Advising the Federal Executive in planning and programming policies and actions related to youth development under the National Development Plan;
  • Act as a consultative and advisory body of the departments and agencies of the Federal Public Administration and state authorities, municipal, and private and social sectors when required;
  • Promote coordination with the departments and agencies of the Federal Public Administration, within the scope of their powers, actions designed to improve the living standards of youth and their social expectations and cultural rights;
  • Act as a representative of the Federal Government on youth matters before state and municipal governments, private organizations, social and international organizations, as well as forums, conventions, meetings and other meetings where the Executive to seek a share.
  From National Youth Programme 2008-2012 (2008) (English Translation: Google Translate): Participation  
Participation rates of [young] people in the political arena [is characterised by] apathy and disinterest. [I]n 2005, for example, according to the National Youth Survey (ENJ 2005) less than 2.0% of young people between 12 and 29 participated in any political organization. However, this discourse limits its participation [to] highly institutionalized organizations, [i.e.] political parties. Instead, [decreasing] interest in elections and solidarity action [...] is not so much a characteristic behavior of [an] age [group] as [much as it reflects] the discredit[ing of] politics and ignorance of [youth] rights and [the] resources at their disposal to influence the decisions [...]
Although there are no accurate estimates of the [...] needs of the young people in [area] of justice, the ENJ 2005 [identifies] drugs and alcohol ( 70.9 %), family relationships and family ( 1.7 %) and violence (15.8 %), as areas which young people have [the most issues]. The likelihood of being a victim of crime is greater between 20 and 29 years old and, according to ENJ 2005, 6% of the young people [have] been a victim [in the] last 12 months. Violence is the leading cause [of] why [young] people [choose to] leave Mexico [...] Domestic violence violates both health and [...] physical and mental integrity of the members of a family, and the cohesion of society . One out of 10 homes suffer such violence and victims [are] most [commonly] children, however, according to the Survey on Domestic Violence (INEGI, 1999), only 14 of every 100 households [ask] for help [from] authorities.