Source: The World Has a Problem: Too Many Young People
Author: Somini Sengupta
In a time of history when the world is focused on the health of the global economy and stabilizing the economies in each country, there is a factor that will have profound consequences in the future if not realized and addressed in the short-term. It is the population growth of the youth ages 10-24, which now account for one-fourth of the world’s population.
In the article The World Has a Problem: Too Many Young People, the author brings to light several challenges that affect not only youth in virtually every country of the world, but highlights the alarming effects that large numbers of youth with few opportunities will have on the future of the global economy.
One of the largest youth populations are in developing countries such as India, who have been more educated than any previous Indian generation, more connected to the world and who are now looking for work, finishing schooling, registering to vote, and moving into the cities for work as well as to other countries. However, the author presents evidence that the economy is not prepared to respond to such massive growth of future youth, which according to the author, may result in political and social unrest, mass migration into unaccepting countries, an increasing age gap and, most concerning, the bachelor gap.
India is not alone. Youth unemployment is also widespread among Europe at 25%, United States at 17%, Middle East in soaring numbers. Why are these statistics important? Social unrest is better predicted by youth unemployment than any other indicator. When education, ambition and expectation go unmet, it fuels frustration, which leads to social and political unrest. Moreover, in some developing countries where the youth bulge is the greatest, the massive unrest would occur in unprecedented numbers.
The author also addresses another issue facing youth, which is the widening age gap. With more youth in one part of the globe (such as in India) and a need for more youth in another (such as in China), migration becomes vital to re-balancing the world demographics. The challenge is how to manage such a balance.
The last point the author makes about challenges facing the global youth is the bachelor gap and the author refers to this as the ‘most worrisome’. In countries such as China and India where there are millions more men than women, a man with a good job has the greater advantage. When the prospect of bachelorhood and few job prospects cross with unmet ambitions and expectations, a formula for violence and social unrest, particularly against women, is brewing, according to the author.
With the youth bulge, age gap and bachelor gap becoming more prominent around the globe as the youth come of age, the author highlights the important need to mediate and manage global immigration as well as create jobs for the youth in order to relieve the pressure on the global economy and prevent social and political unrest.