Young Colombians enjoy good health, but in an unsafe environment.
Colombia tends toward the lower middle range of youth wellbeing in all domains, except health, where it outperforms other Latin American nations in the Index.
The country’s rank of 7th overall in health is driven by low rates of tobacco use (12 percent) and youth stress (37 percent). Despite an adolescent fertility rate of 49 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19, (above the Index average of 42 births per 1,000), this figure has declined steadily over the past 10 years. At 22 per 100,000 youth, self-harm fatality rates remain stubbornly high among young people in Colombia, with only modest decreases since 2000.
Although Colombia has a youth policy, which positively affects its rank for citizen participation, its other related scores in the domain were lower, placing it at 17th in this domain. Ninety-one percent of youth surveyed in the country feel that the government does not care about their wants and needs. This is the third highest figure in the Index.
Colombia ranks 15th for economic opportunity. Youth early-stage entrepreneurial activity is robust, at 27 percent, and significantly higher than the Index average of 15 percent. Youth unemployment in Colombia steadily declined from 24 percent in 2010 to 17 percent in 2013, but since then has risen again to 19 percent.
Public investment in education tracks with the Index average of 16 percent for 2014, and literacy is near universal (99 percent). The country’s dramatic improvements in lower secondary school completion—from 34 percent in 1984 to 97 percent in 2010—have faltered, dropping to 78 percent in 2014.
Colombian youth struggle with safety and security. At 154 deaths per 100,000 youth, Colombia’s rate of youth interpersonal violence is by far the highest among Index countries. Brazil, the country scoring closest to Colombia on this indicator, has a rate of 92 per 100,000. Colombia also receives a low score for internal peace; the country ranks 27th for that indicator.
The Global Millennial Viewpoints Survey
Despite the challenges, Colombian youth are optimistic about their economic future. Seventy-nine percent of youth surveyed say their standard of living will be better than that of their parents. Young people’s optimism is shared across developing economies in which the base standard of living is relatively low and where economic growth has been steady.
Eighty-four percent of young Colombians surveyed feel that they are in near-perfect health, and only 37 percent feel that their lives are too stressful.
Young Colombians indicate that they are ready for gender equality. Ninety-eight percent of youth polled in the country believe that women should have equal rights with men— the second highest figure after Mexico in the Global Millennial Viewpoints Survey.