Youth Vulnerabilities in Life Course Transitions

Por Abby Hardgrove, Kirrily Pells, Jo Boyden and Paul Dornan

This paper examines youth vulnerabilities, with a particular emphasis on low- and middle-income countries. It touches on the challenges confronted by young people exposed to extreme, life-threatening circumstances, such as political violence and armed conflict, but focuses on vulnerabilities that emerge in key transitions experienced by most young people, such as those linked to school, work, partnership and parenthood. Such vulnerabilities not only hold young people back, but also are a barrier to capitalizing on the demographic dividend. The paper employs a life course perspective, highlighting the relationship between early influences and later outcomes, and examining individual life trajectories within a societal context. It draws on a range of secondary sources, and it makes extensive use of life course analysis from Young Lives, a longitudinal study of children growing up in poverty in Ethiopia, Andhra Pradesh (India), Peru and Viet Nam. It concludes by highlighting policy implications.

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