A recent study partially explains much of the tension in our neighborhood, not to mention in Mexico in general—the vast number of young Mexicans that never have an opportunity to contribute to the economic development and general well-being in this country. It is easy to see how many drift into early pregnancy, underemployment, into the arms of the narco cartels or into all of those categories, one generation following the next.
Writing for the Mexican national newspaper La Jornada, March 22, 2014, Laura Poy Solano lists some of the reasons. The figures are from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which compares education in some 233 countries.
~ Six out of 10 young people over age 19 in Mexico have dropped out of school completely.
~ Only 12 percent of the population aged 20 to 29 continues in school.
~ This is less than half the average of the OECD’s member countries.
~ Ni-Ni’s (neither nor in Spanish) are the population group that neither works nor studies in Mexico.
~ They make up 24.7 percent of 15 to 29 year olds.
~ That is the third highest rate of the 233 OECD countries.
~ That figure increases with age: in the age group 25 to 29 the percentage of Ni-Ni’s rises to 29.5 percent.
~ In the group 15 to 19 years, four in ten do not attend school.
~ The statistics for women are even worse. Girls aged 15-29 live an average of 5.7 years as Ni-Ni’s. 1.7 years for males in the group.
~ In 2011, the percentage of female NiNis was three times higher than that of males: 37.8 women and 11 percent males. The rate worsens over time:
15 to 19 years: more than 25 percent;
20 to 24 years: 42 percent;
25 to 29 years: nearly 50 percent.
What a waste of economic potential, not to mention just plain human development—for which I would hold the Mexican political leadership responsible—on all levels. To me, they seem much more interested in chasing individual power and the peso in general than addressing a broader vision of what a vibrant, prospering nation needs—first and foremost, investment in the education and guidance of all of the nation’s youth.