Definition of Youth

The national youth policy (1996) of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines defines youth as between 15-30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 16
  • --
  • XX
  • Female
  • 15
  • --
  • XX

  • No data for marriageable age with parental consent. Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
No juvenile facilities exist meaning children may be placed in adult prisons. Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report

Majority Age


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 %
  • 83.89%Male %
  • 86.53% 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) %
  • 22.00% Male (13-15) %
  • 16.60% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
2011 UNFPA report describes the draft of a national youth policy. Its current status is unclear.

The outdated national youth policy (1996) focused on employment, education, health, culture, sports, participation and representation. Despite noting a “mandatory review” of the policy every three years, the operational status is unclear. A 2011 report by UNFPA, noted a draft national youth policy as focusing on education, employment, health, HIV/AIDS, sexual & reproductive health, and gender-based violence. The current status of the draft is unclear. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a signatory to the CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan 2012-2017 (CYDAP), which supports the development of youth policies and programmes. As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 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 National Mobilization, Social Development, Family, Gender Affairs, Persons with Disabilities and Youth is responsible for youth affairs by virtue of its name. However, the ministry’s website provides no information on policies or programmes for young people, nor is youth featured in the any other descriptions of the ministry’s thematic responsibilities, such as gender, family and social development.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Youth Council of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (NYC-SVG) was established in 1966 and “has long sphere-headed the cause of young people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.” However, it “has struggled for its existence and the fulfilment of its role.” The official Facebook Page is active and notes the principles of the Council as including autonomy, political independence and human rights. The NYC-SVG is a member of the Commonwealth Youth Council. The CARICOM Youth Ambassadors programme is active with Youth Ambassadors representing the country.

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?
XCD 2.8 million
USD 1.0 million
Although detailed budget estimates of expenditure are not available, the Budget Address (2012) describes the allocation of XCD 2.8 million (USD 1.0 million) for “Youth Empowerment Services” under the Ministry of National Mobilization, Social Development, Family, Gender Affairs, Persons with Disabilities and Youth. According to the World Bank, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines spent 13.81% of its government expenditure on education provision in 2009, and 5.09% 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

The St Vincent and the Grenadines country profile by BBC News offers background information:
The multi-island country of St Vincent and the Grenadines is a land of contrasts. St Vincent - the main population centre - is mountainous and lush. Rainforests thrive in the interior and La Soufriere, an active volcano which last erupted in 1979, dominates the north.
Of the many islands and cays that make up the Grenadines, Mustique, Palm Island and Union Island are haunts of the rich and famous - offering yachting, diving and fine beaches.
These playgrounds are worlds away from the many Vincentians who are without jobs. High unemployment has prompted many to leave the islands.
Like other countries in the Windwards chain, St Vincent and the Grenadines has tried to reduce its reliance on banana exports after the European Union phased out preferential treatment to producers from former colonies.
Efforts to diversify the economy have been partially successful. Tourism is said to have great potential and there are plans to build an international airport. But the banana crop remains vital, accounting for around a third of export earnings.
Like many other Caribbean countries, St Vincent and the Grenadines has fallen victim to drug-related crime. Efforts have been made to tackle marijuana cultivation.
The country has taken steps to curb money-laundering, and a Paris-based organisation dedicated to tackling the issue has removed St Vincent and the Grenadines from its list of non-cooperative countries.
The Youth on the Bloc survey in St Vincent and the Grenadines(2011)provides a situational analysis for youth.
Young people in St.Vincent and the Grenadines face numerous challenges. One of the major challenges is the high level of unemployment. Data from 2001 population and housing census shows that the 15–29 age cohort comprised 12.7 percent of the unemployed population compared with 14.2 percent in 1991. The number of unemployed males 15 – 29 increased by 6 percent, and the unemployment rate from 26.6 percent in 1991 to 33.8 percent in 2001. During the intercensal period the number of unemployed females declined by 22.3 percent, falling from 35.2 percent in 1991 to 31.1 percent in 2001.  The most significant declines (26.6 percent) were in the 15-19 age group with 35.2 percent, followed by the 25-29 group with 15.4 percent.
Other challenges include underachievement in the educational system, rising levels of violence and criminal activity including the push from drug traffickers to reach wider and more lucrative markets. As a result youth become vulnerable to involvement in criminal activity that consumes their communities. To illustrate, many youths have died before their 30th birthday as a result of gang warfare fuelled by the drug economy. Statistics show that during the last three years, deaths to young people between age 15 – 29 years averaged 5 percent of total deaths.
In addition, due to a myriad of push (poverty, lack of communication in the home) and pull (somewhere to relieve stress or to hang out with your peers) factors, young people have been finding their livelihoods, social networks and most of their leisure time on the streets (on the bloc). In response to this, international and national agencies including the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Youth Department have been working hard to discern the exact nature of these activities and their vulnerability to crime and violence that adolescents experience while they are “hanging out”.