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Mexico: One of the worst places in the world to be young

They face levels of inequality, risk of violence and lack of access to opportunities on an alarming scale.

5 facts to understand the seriousness of the problem:

1. Two out of every ten murders committed in the country occur to young people between the ages of 12 and 24.

2. Mexico ranks first in sexual violence against minors, in addition to only 1 in 10 cases being reported.

3. Addictions in teenagers increased by 125% in only 7 years.

4. Only 4 out of 10 young people actively participate in the public life of their communities

The 3 big reasons why it is terrible to be young in Mexico today:

Derived from these conditions, there are three main reasons that make Mexico the most dangerous country to be young:

1. Low social mobility conditions them from an early age

Mexico has one of the lowest social mobility in the world, comparable to that of developing economies such as India. This lack of social mobility is mainly due to the existence of a large socioeconomic inequality gap and indicates that there are few structural conditions for a person to improve their future development and well-being options.

For adolescents and young people in Mexico, the social status of their family determines the type of educational and employment opportunities to which they have access, almost from birth. Because of this, 4 out of 10 of them will not be able to access higher education due to lack of resources, or because at some point in their lives, they will have to decide between eating or going to university.

This will lead them to have to look for work prematurely and with little training, so their options will not be the best and in many cases, precarious employment will lead them to seek better income and opportunities in crime and organized crime networks.

2. Violence is in your closest environment

We tend to think that adolescents who are at greater risk of both suffering and practicing violence are those who already live in high-risk environments or who exhibit certain criminal behaviors, such as drug use. However, studies such as the 2018 Children and Youth Consultation show that adolescents are more likely to perceive violence in their own home (59%) or at school (53%) than on the street (34%) and therefore so they are more vulnerable to its effects.

This conditions the way in which they function within their community, their levels of self-esteem and also the type of projects that are considered in the future. Although this does not mean that all of them will become delinquents, they will suffer the effects related to this condition in their adult life, reflected in their mental and physical health or in a difficult job projection and economic instability.

3. Lack of opportunities to reorient your future

Now we are talking about the youth that has been forgotten: those who live in prisons and see their opportunities even more limited. Studies show us that in Mexico, 89% of the adolescents currently in correctional facilities had worked before committing the crime that landed them in prison. All of them spoke of having precarious employment as a background and without any type of social benefit that would allow them to see a difference in their living conditions.

While detention centers are expected to reform youth and prepare them for a different future upon release, the opposite is true. With only two hours of classes a week, few sporting and artistic activities, and poor attention to their physical and mental health, only 22% of them will have a different life expectancy upon regaining their freedom.

These three major problems serve to give us an idea of the great difficulty of the challenges that adolescents and young people currently face and of the few tools that we, as a society, are giving them to build better conditions for our future.

Although this question does not have a simple answer, the truth is that looking for alternatives to build safer communities, making sure that in their day to day, they have access to resources and people who understand the problems they are facing, and who have Genuine interest in proposing solutions that correspond to your vision and aspirations are two ways to subscribe to a possible solution.



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