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Teenagers: The Globe’s Future

Our key facts on how teenagers around the world are adapting to globalization.

June 29, 2002

Our key facts on how teenagers around the world are adapting to globalization.

Teenagers are a force to be reckoned with. Making up 13% of the global population, teens are an important source of inspiration for the future. In just a short span of time, they will become the leaders of our societies, businesses and nations. Our new Globalist Factsheet takes a look at what globalization means for the youth of the world.

How many teenagers live around the globe?

As of 1999, there are 800 million teenagers in the world — or 13% of the global population. That is the highest total number of teenagers ever.

(National Geographic Society)

Where will most teenagers live in the near future?

By 2015, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen followed by Gaza, the West Bank, Mexico and large parts of sub-Saharan Africa will have the world’s largest youth populations on a proportional basis.

(Washington Post)

Which nation’s pool of teenagers outnumbers the population size of most countries in the world?

Out of India’s current population of one billion, 47% are under the age of 20. About 160 million of them are teenagers.

(Business Week)

Are there more young people in the United States than in Europe?

While only 14.8% and 16% of the populations of Italy and Germany, respectively, are under 15 years of age, almost 22% of Americans are that young.

(Brookings Institution)

What is the forecast for the size of the teen population in the United States?

The number of U.S. youth between the ages of 12 and 19 will rise from 31 million in 1999 to 35 million in 2010 — outnumbering even the baby boom generation.

(Wall Street Journal)

How do social expenditures for teens measure up to those for the elderly in the United States?

A young person costs U.S. society three-fifths of what an elderly person does.

(Washington Post)

What is the job situation for young people in Europe?

Youth unemployment in Europe has never fallen below 15% — even during the economic boom of the late 1990s.

(Business Week)

What in turn was one the most surprising facts about U.S. teenagers during the last decade?

In 1995, teenagers in California — not in India or Nigeria — registered the highest birth rates.


Why are so many U.S. teenagers overweight?

In 1980, U.S. teenagers were drinking twice as much milk as soft drinks. Today, they are drinking twice as much soda as milk.

(Center for Science in the Public Interest)

What about other “drinking habits”?

As of 2001, every U.S. state bans drinking until the age of 21. In contrast, European countries set the drinking age at 18 — or younger.

(Washington Post)

Why are young girls particularly disadvantaged worldwide?

As of 2000, youth illiteracy is at 337 million, 236 million — or 70% — of these are girls and young women.

(World Bank)

How does warfare disrupt the lives of many teenagers?

In 1998, Burma had 50,000 soldiers age 15 or younger — while Sudan had 28,000, Rwanda 20,000 and Colombia 19,000.

(Washington Post)

Do weapons pose a problem for the young in the United States?

Thirteen children in the United States are killed every day by guns.

(Bill Bradley Presidential Campaign)

And finally, is smoking still an issue for teenagers?

In 1997, the percentage of U.S. teenagers who smoke rose to 36.4%, up from 27.5% in 1991. In the United Kingdom, the rate rose from 27% in 1994 to 29% in 1996. Canada’s levels rose from 22% in 1991 to 28% in 1994.

(Financial Times)