(July 2006) This year’s World Population Day—July 11—focuses on the needs and rights of the nearly 3 billion youth under age 25 around the world. According to the United Nations Population Fund, which chooses the day’s theme and sponsors activities around it, many youth today—particularly in developing countries—face daunting challenges:

  • More than 500 million youth live on less than $2 per day, with some 238 million living on less than $1 per day.
  • Pregnancy is a leading cause of death for young women ages 15 to 19 worldwide. For both physiological and social reasons, these women are twice as likely to die in childbirth as young women in their twenties, with complications of childbirth and unsafe abortion major factors in these deaths.
  • About 57 million young men and 96 million young women ages 15 to 24 in developing countries cannot read or write.
  • In 2000, some 300,000 soldiers younger than 18 were involved in 30 conflicts around the world.

The Population Reference Bureau frequently publishes articles and reports on trends and issues facing the world’s young people. Below is a list of PRB’s most recent related articles, which cover topics ranging from health threats faced by the world’s youth to global abortion trends to racial and ethnic disparities in U.S. youth violence.


Growing Up Global: An Advocacy Kit on Youth Issues
A new advocacy kit produced by Population Reference Bureau (PRB) and Advocates for Youth and funded by the Summit Foundation gives advocates information on many challenges young people face today. The kit highlights their schooling; their health; and their transition to work, citizenship, marriage, and parenthood (June 2006)

Youth in a Global World
Youth in a Global World describes what it’s like to grow up in today’s world, with a special focus on four major experiences in the lives of young people: schooling, health, marriage, and childbearing. It highlights changes and suggests ways policies and programs could further improve the lives of today’s youth. (June 2006)

PRB’s The World’s Youth 2006 Data Sheet Paints a Mixed Picture for Adolescents
While girls and boys are enrolling in secondary school in record numbers and early marriage is on the decline, many young people across the world still face daunting threats to their well-being—from sexually transmitted infections to complications from smoking. (February 2006)


Overcoming Obstacles to Vaccines for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Cervical Cancer
Novel approaches to financing vaccine investment and delivering human papillomavirus vaccines to adolescents (a key target group for all three diseases) have given analysts hope that new vaccines for these diseases can be developed and introduced in developing countries. (June 2006)

PRB-UNFPA Country Profiles for Population and Reproductive Health 2005
PRB and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have jointly published the Country Profiles for Population and Reproductive Health: Policy Developments and Indicators 2005. The volume, which updates the 2003 edition, contains national and subnational indicators on the demographic and social situation in 163 countries and subregions. (March 2006)

Hib Vaccine Could Reduce Major Childhood Diseases
Hib disease annually causes an estimated 3 million cases of serious illness and 400,000 deaths. But despite the availability of financing for Hib vaccination, information gaps have meant that most countries eligible for GAVI funding have not introduced the vaccine, leaving almost three-quarters of the world’s children at risk for the disease. (February 2006)

Abortion in the United States and the World

A look at some facts and trends regarding abortion in the United States and worldwide, including the decline in U.S. abortion rates, the reasons U.S. women decide to have abortions, and the levels of illegal abortions across the globe. (December 2005)

Regional Differences in Age Patterns of Unsafe Abortion Suggest Need for Tailored Interventions

The ages at which women have unsafe abortions—those abortions performed by unskilled practitioners in unhygienic conditions—differ markedly among regions in the developing world. And understanding these disparate age patterns could help in developing programs that reach women most in need of contraceptive services and post-abortion care. (October 2005)

Mixed Portrait for Health and Welfare of Youth in Developing Countries
A National Academies Press report says that youth in developing countries are better off than young people were 20 years ago, but the gains are uneven across regions. (May 2005)

United States

In the News: Speaking English in the United States
Nearly 50 million Americans spoke a language at home other than English in 2004—almost one-fifth of all U.S. residents age 5 or older. And U.S. immigrants are making the transition to English proficiency more quickly than at any time in the country’s history. (June 2006)

Report Finds Serious Disparities Among Children in North America
A new report from the Children in North America project finds that, while the continent’s children have grown healthier and better educated over the last several decades, Mexico lags both Canada and the United States in providing education and health care to its children. (May 2006)

The Risk of Negative Child Outcomes in Low-Income Families
The child poverty rate has become one of the most widely used indicators of child well-being in the United States. But a new PRB analysis of 2000 Census data suggests that poverty thresholds used to determine eligibility for many public welfare programs to benefit needy children and families may not be the best way to determine eligibility for a needs-based program. (May 2006)

The Concentration of Negative Child Outcomes in Low-Income U.S. Neighborhoods
This analysis of 2000 Census data finds that negative child outcomes in the United States are highly concentrated in poor neighborhoods. The study highlights significant racial, ethnic, and geographic differences in both the proportions of children residing in poor neighborhoods and in the concentrations of negative child outcomes. (March 2006)

New Orleans Lags United States in Key Indicators of Child Well-Being (PDF: 17 KB)
The city’s percentage of children living in poverty, children living in single-parent families, teens who are high-school dropouts, and children with no parents in the labor force are all higher than the U.S. averages for these indicators. (October 2005)

The Transition to Adulthood: Characteristics of Young Adults Ages 18 to 24 in America (PDF: 1.3MB)
This report examines the status of young adult Americans ages 18 to 24, with particular attention to outcomes associated with the transition to adulthood including citizenship, educational achievement, disconnectedness, employment, and military service, as well as measures of family and household formation. (May 2005)

Surprising Social Factors Linked to Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Youth Violence in the U.S.

Why do black youth in the United States commit violent acts almost twice as often as white or Latino youth? Researchers at Harvard University have found that the reasons have little to do with individual poverty or inherent racial differences. (April 2005)

Children in Immigrant Families: U.S. and State-Level Findings From the 2000 Census (PDF: 1.7MB)
This report is an overview of children in immigrant families in the United States, based on data from the 2000 Census. (February 2005)