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GENERATON GAP DANGER

In America adolescence is taken for granted, but until recently, the idea of adolescence was unknown in many parts of the world, says Cynthia B. Lloyd, author of Growing Up Global, a National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report. International demographers are worrying about economic, cultural, and political implications of a population boom among the world's youth. Currently, the total population of 10- to 24-year-olds is estimated at 1.5 billion, of which 86% live in developing countries. The growth is most rapid in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Previously, young people tended to move directly from childhood to adulthood. Spurred by improved health care, the onset of puberty is also declining for young people - from about 15 to 12 years of age. This along with economic and technological gains, has affected cultural practices tied to puberty and delayed employment, marriage, and childbearing while increasing time spent in school. Researchers suggest the possibility of a critical and potentially dangerous global generation gap as their political and economic expectations rise. Nearly half of all unemployment in the world is among young people. (Bend Weekly 1/5/07)

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