Youth Unemployment CrisisYouth unemployment is an increasing worldwide crisis. As of 2016, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that 71 million 15 to 24-year-olds around the world are unemployed, many of whom are facing long-term unemployment. To put this number into perspective, youth unemployment is “close to an historic peak” of 13 percent.

The youth unemployment crisis impacts low-income countries the most because even employed citizens are at risk of poverty. In 2016 the ILO estimated that about 156 million employed youths in these countries lived in poverty. This makes up a substantial 38 percent of youths in developing nations.

For the sake of the world’s economy as well as these youths, here are four potential solutions to the youth unemployment crisis:

  1. One of the main causes of the youth unemployment crisis is the lack of quality education worldwide. It was reported in 2016 that about 40 percent of employers find it difficult to recruit people with needed skills. This is because about 250 million children worldwide do not acquire basic reading, writing and math skills. Therefore, nearly one in five youths do not gain the most basic skills needed for employment. By ensuring quality education globally, students will be able to acquire skills needed for gaining employment.
  2. A significant number of youths cannot acquire the education needed for employment because of crisis and conflict. An estimated 75 million children between the ages of three and 18 currently live in countries that are in conflict. These children are twice as likely as their counterparts to have no access to quality education. Thus, to resolve the youth unemployment crisis by allowing youth to get jobs, crisis and conflict in war-torn countries must first be dramatically reduced.
  3. To resolve the youth unemployment crisis, the focus must also shift toward gender equality in education. Gender distribution in the international labor force is woefully disproportionate. According to the ILO, 53.9 percent of young men compared to 37.3 percent of young women are employed. This is due in part to cultural beliefs regarding working women, but also has to do with a lack of women’s education. Globally, 61 million young women are not enrolled in primary or lower-secondary school, giving them little opportunity to gain skills for employment. This includes literacy, as “two-thirds of the world’s illiterates are women.” Therefore, addressing gender inequality in education is a necessary step towards reducing youth unemployment.
  4. Aside from reforming education, tackling youth unemployment will also take commitment to funding research, educational programs and employment programs. In order to finance these programs, funding for education needs to increase to $3 trillion by 2030. As the current investment in education stands at $1.2 trillion, reaching this goal requires large-scale cooperation. This means that companies, governments, non-government organizations and schools must form partnerships to invest in research and solutions to youth unemployment.

Resolving the youth unemployment crisis is critical for not only the well-being of youths worldwide, but also for the global economy. Mass youth unemployment slows progress and thereby it is essential to take steps toward ending it.

Haley Hurtt
Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in El SalvadorEl Salvador is a country about the size of New Jersey, with a population of just over six million. In the past decade, poverty levels in this Central American country have dropped significantly. But 36 percent of rural Salvadorians still live in poverty. Why? These are three of the biggest causes of poverty in El Salvador:

1. An Unproductive Economy
Levels of poverty in countries are nearly always tied to the vitality of that country’s economy. And while El Salvador’s economy has made strides in recent years, it still suffers from stagnation. This is particularly evident in the agricultural sector. Salvadorian coffee crops have been damaged by coffee rust, a fungus that kills coffee beans. As coffee exports decreased, the economy suffered. Many rural Salvadorians were plunged into poverty. This sluggish economy is particularly detrimental for youth populations, who struggle to find employment. Fortunately, organizations like the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are offering help. Between 2015 and 2021, IFAD plans to invest 41 million US dollars into El Salvador’s agriculture community. IFAD’s strategy is a community-based approach, another sign of their commitment to Salvadorians. In short, IFAD’s intentional aid is helping eradicate the causes of poverty that plague El Salvador.

2. Crime
El Salvador is the most violent country in the world. Much of El Salvador’s crime is attributable to rampant gang violence and drug trafficking. According to World Finance, “approximately 70 percent of businesses in El Salvador are subject to gang-related crime.” This extortion stunts the El Salvadorian economy, leading to widespread poverty. The World Bank estimates that in 2011 alone, crime cost El Salvador’s government over two billion US dollars, 10.8 percent of the country’s GDP. By 2014, the cost of crime increased to 4 billion US dollars, 16 percent of El Salvador’s GDP. These levels of crime lead to massive instability and cripple the economy. These outcomes inevitably increase poverty levels.

3. Climate Change
Climate change is the most silent of all the causes of poverty in El Salvador, but is just as dangerous. El Salvador is highly susceptible to changes in weather due to its location. As the Earth’s temperature’s rise, El Salvador’s crop yield is expected to drop by 30 percent by 2050. Salvadorians are already beginning to feel the effects of climate change. Drought has affected over 80,000 people. As climate change continues, farming in El Salvador will become harder and harder. Agriculture accounts for 17.3 percent of total employment. As farming becomes less viable, more rural Salvadorians will find themselves in poverty.

Understanding the causes of poverty in El Salvador is vital for discovering routes towards change. Organizations like IFAD and Salvadorians themselves have already begun the work of development. But more needs to be done, and you can help! All it takes is a phone call or email to your representatives. Urge them to support aid and investment in developing countries, including El Salvador.

Adesuwa Agbonile

Photo: Flickr

Youth Unemployment Rate in GreeceThe youth unemployment rate in Greece has reached tremendously high levels and is resulting in the growth of poverty among young Greeks, in addition to stunting the development of the Greek economy. As of May 2017, the youth unemployment rate in Greece reached a staggering 46 percent. This rate means that roughly half of the Greek youth population are unable to find employment opportunities.

Looking at the high rate of youth unemployment, one factor can be seen as its primary cause: Greek debt.

In 2011, due to its ballooning debt levels and fears that Greece would default on its debt, European counterparts were forced to give Greece a bailout package of 109 billion. As part of the loan, however, major credit rating agencies gave Greece a rating along with a disclaimer saying there would be a substantial risk of default on Greek debt.

By giving Greece this rating, the country pushed away potential investors in the Greek economy, and, in combination with the effects of Greek austerity programs, substantially hurt the growth potential of the Greek economy. The adverse effects observed in Greece are exemplified by the fact that the country’s economy has contracted by a quarter since the crisis began.

The minimum wage in Greece is calculated differently for younger people than it is for people over 30, so young Greeks who have a job are often paid at a significantly lower rate than older workers.

As an overall effect on poverty in Greece, the high youth unemployment rate will very obviously impact the country and raise its poverty rate. As the Greek economy continues to deteriorate and young people continue to go without opportunities to work, the poverty rate in the country will inevitably grow.

Going hand-in-hand with the increase in the rate of poverty among young people in Greece is the level of youth homelessness. As the unemployment rate continues to climb, the rate of homelessness among Greek youth – in addition to the rate of substance abuse – both continue to rise.

Overall, the youth unemployment rate in Greece is elevating enough to become a significant issue requiring foreign assistance to resolve. As countries capable of proving support, the United States and Greece’s European counterparts must increase aid to help Greece combat this problem. By focusing efforts on increasing the success of the Greek economy, issues such as youth unemployment will certainly begin seeing improvement.

Garrett Keyes

France’s Poverty RateIn the near-decade since the global financial crisis, France, Europe’s third largest economy, has taken longer to recover than other major economies. Specifically, the French economy posted a growth rate just below 1.1 percent in 2015, lower than the growth in Germany (1.7 percent) and the U.K. (2.2 percent), the two largest economies in Europe. Despite the crisis and stagnant economic growth, France’s poverty rate has remained relatively low compared to other EU nations.

The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) officially reported France’s poverty rate from 2014 at 14.1 percent, equating to more than nine million people. INSEE estimated that the 2015 rate would grow to 14.3 percent, and plans to release the official statistics in September. This rate is better than the EU average of 17.2 percent, as well as many individual European economies, but still covers a large portion of the French population.

When determining the economic status of France, the poverty rate should not be the only number consulted. Unemployment remains high in France. In the most recently reported month, June 2017, unemployment in France stood at 9.6 percent. This is higher than the average in the EU and is more than twice the rates in Germany (3.8) and the U.S. (4.4) from the same month. Nearly three million people who are looking for a job in France cannot find one. Additionally, there is the concern of the next generation of French workers since the unemployment rate for workers between the ages of 15 and 24 is 24 percent.

However, it is difficult to determine whether there is a link between lowering the unemployment rate and lowering France’s poverty rate. France calculates its poverty rate in a relative manner, using an income of 60 percent or less than the average median income in the country as the poverty line. Gaining employment in France increases an individual’s income, but also shifts the poverty line as the median income changes. However, the high unemployment rate does have major implications on the future of the French economy.

Addressing poverty, the high unemployment rate and economic growth are major challenges faced by recently inaugurated president Emmanuel Macron. President Macron endorsed a number of proposals to address these issues during his campaign. The proposals include training programs for more than one million young people, making working hours more flexible and offering incentives to businesses hiring from poor neighborhoods. Implementation of and results from these proposals may not be seen for some time, but each works to address the poverty rate, unemployment rate and economic growth in France.

Erik Beck

Photo: Google

Italy's Birth RateItaly’s birth rate has continued to drop, according to the most recent report from the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). This is the second year in a row that the national number of births has dipped to fewer than half a million. The birth rate is currently at 473,438.

In 2015, the country saw its fertility rate plunge to its lowest since the Italian modern state was formed in 1861. The national average birth rate of 1.35 children per woman is significantly less than the average for women across the European Union at 1.58.

Political analysts have cited the spikes in poverty and unemployment rates among the youth as possible factors that may have spurred the decline of Italy’s birth rate. Even though the birth rate has been steadily decreasing since its peak during the 1960s, it has fallen significantly years after the 2008 global financial crisis. From 2008 to 2013, Italy passed through its longest and deepest economic recession; as an effect, the national unemployment rate grew from 5.7 percent in 2007 to 13 percent in 2014.

The aftershocks of the recession hit young Italians the hardest. As the country starts its path towards economic recovery with increasing in small increments of the GDP and a gradual decrease in the unemployment rate, Italy’s youth fall deeper into poverty. A 2017 report from Caritas, an Italian Catholic organization focused on social development in the country, reveals that one out of 10 young Italians are now poor, a stark contrast from the two percent poverty rate in 2007. Moreover, close to one of five young Italians are neither employed nor in the workforce, almost double the EU average at 11.5 percent. Youth unemployment, consistently high since the economic downturn in 2008, is still at 37.8 percent, the third-highest in the European Union.

The youth who are more fortunate to be employed, often either have irregular contracts or earn significantly less than their older colleagues. According to the Employment and Social Developments in Europe (EDSE) review published by the European Union (2017), 15 percent of Italian employees aged 25 to 39 have irregular contractual work, while workers aged under 30 earn 60 percent less than workers over 60.

The lack of financial security has had a marked impact on Italy’s youth, who with the uncertainty in the job market have opted to stay home until they are financially and professionally stable. Italians now leave home and have their first child at the age of 31 or 32, five years after the average European.

Members of the Italian government have recognized the interrelation between the decline in Italy’s birth rate and the increase in poverty and unemployment rates among Italy’s youth. “[With] no guarantee of income for citizens, most will not think about starting a family,” Italian health minister Beatrice Lorenzin said in 2016. Young Italians, suffering from the lowest wages in Europe and rising poverty rates, seem to know better than burdening themselves with trying to provide for dependents with their meager incomes.

Bella Suansing

Photo: Flickr

Cost of Living in Cyprus
Cyprus is a small island in the Eastern Mediterranean and is the third-largest and third most populated island in the Mediterranean. Despite being an island, the cost of living in Cyprus is relatively low. The prices are about 25% lower than those in other Northern European countries.

There are many inexpensive commodities in Cyprus, such as the local seasonal fruit. Rent and utility bills are also relatively cheap on the island, especially water bills and electricity. Basic utilities are usually around 128 euros a month. The more expensive commodities in Cyprus are internet access, milk and clothing. Most of the milk is imported to the island, which raises the price. There are very limited options for clothing, and most are very expensive. Online shopping is an option, but internet costs upwards of 42 euros per month, making it a luxury.

A comfortable net income in Cyprus is between 10,251.61 euros and 11,960.21 euros annually. After the euro was introduced to the island, the prices there rose overall. The euro is still fairly new, so not everything has been affected yet, but the prices are predicted to rise further, including those of produce, utilities and clothing.

The island has a slow pace of life, which refers to the rate at which commodities are fixed when they break. People go days or weeks without electricity when there is an outage because the relaxed pace of life means that the electricity is not a top priority. This lifestyle can be nice but also has its downsides, especially with the unemployment problem in Cyprus.

This lifestyle and high unemployment rate both affect the cost of living in Cyprus. Cyprus has a lack of available jobs, which affects the country’s economy and its citizens’ decision-making. With the decreased income and the increasing cost of living in Cyprus, limitations are placed upon decision-making. Less becomes affordable for families and, in turn, can increase poverty rates. The unemployment rate has shrunk the economy, impacting the cost of living in Cyprus.

A somewhat positive impact on the country’s cost of living in Cyprus is the low transportation costs. Buses are cheaply available, but there are no active train systems, and these buses are unreliable. Most people rely on private taxis, instead of the bus systems, but these are more expensive. The citizens have been informed that a train system will be installed within a 15-year time frame.

Luckily, housing is quite affordable in Cyprus. The ultimate problems for the country are unemployment and price increases due to the introduction of the euro. These problems should be the focus of improving the cost of living in Cyprus.

Katelynn Kenworthy

Photo: Pixabay

With years of government instability and a decade of war, Iraqi’s have had to suffer through harsh economic woes. With the lack of infrastructure and only the very beginnings of a stable government, the average Iraqi has been affected by the economy the most. Here are 10 things you need to know about unemployment in Iraq.

  1. As of 2016, the unemployment in Iraq reached 16 percent. For the last decade, Iraq’s unemployment has stayed alarmingly stagnant with the lowest year for unemployment being 2014, with a 15 percent unemployment rate.
  2. The Iraqi population, currently at 34 million, is predicted to reach 50 million by 2030.
  3. The Iraq government employs 40 percent of the population, but, 48 percent of those jobs can only be found in urban areas.
  4. Fifty percent of Iraq’s population is under the age of 19, but the youth population (ages 14-24) is highly affected by the economic woes leading to unemployment in Iraq. Eighteen percent of youth are unemployed.
  5. Ninety-nine percent of the government’s revenue is made by the oil sector, but only one percent of Iraqis work in the oil sector.
  6. Due to the high increasing tensions with the Islamic State rising in Iraq, oil companies are beginning to pull out a number of their facilities within the nation. In 2015, Chevron, the second-largest oil company in the U.S., pulled out two of its oil blocks. Last December, Exxon Mobil, the largest oil company in the U.S., pulled out three of its six blocks in Kurdistan. This type of sudden movement out of Iraq leads to loss of revenue for the government and has also led to the investment of other companies being halted. All of these factors highly affect the unemployment in Iraq.
  7. Five million Iraqis live in Kurdistan, one of the poorest areas in the nation. In 2015, Kurds were affected when 700,000 lost their jobs.
  8. Currently, 23 percent of people in Iraq live below the poverty line.
  9. The Iraqi government has tried to make a difference in the poverty levels. In 2015, the Ministry of Planning implemented a program aimed at ending poverty, which consisted of a five-year plan to decrease poverty to 10 percent. At the end of that same year, the MoP confirmed that its plan had failed, and no new attempts have been made since.
  10. The increasing influx of refugees has put a harsh strain on the already crippling economy of Iraq. As of 2015, two million refugees had been displaced all over Iraq because of conflicts with the Islamic State.

It is apparent that Iraq is in need of a new strategy to help restore its economy. Hopefully action is taken before the country falls into further disrepair.

Maria Rodriguez

Photo: Flickr


After Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, an influx of international aid entered the country. This relief funded the construction of many orphanages housing about 32,000 children.

Out of 760 orphanages, roughly 80 percent of these children have living parents who want to take care of them, but lack access to adequate health, education and social services.

Shelley Clay and her husband moved to Port-Au-Prince in 2008. They were looking to adopt a child but quickly discovered the overflow of children whose parents still continued to visit them. On one block, according to Clay, there were 20 orphanages which essentially operated as 24/7 day-care services.

Clay found famished young boys were stealing eggs from their equally impoverished neighbors. Single mothers were looking for work, but the market was limited.

To provide context, here are some more facts on poverty in Haiti:

  • Haiti ranks 168 out of 187 on the 2014 Human Development Index, according to UNDP.
  • The World Bank announced 59 percent of the population lived on less than $2 per day in 2012.
  • Over two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs, according to the World Factbook.

In 2008, there were 380,000 orphaned Haitian children. Clay found many of the missionaries wanting to make a difference by investing in the construction of orphanages fueled a larger problem. With public housing services, feeding programs and food aid, the problem is never corrected, Clay told Deseret News.

She realized creating jobs would start to solve the issue one family at a time, so she launched a non-profit program called the Apparent Project. Clay saves many children from orphanages, keeping families together, by providing them work and a roof over their head.

Over the last couple years, she has helped 220 people gain income by transforming Haiti’s garbage into an object value — jewelry. Clay provides jobs to local women by recycling these natural resources for basic life necessities.

Now the artisanal jewelry is sold in home tupperware-style parties and small partnerships with stores, such as the GAP and Donna Karan. In December of 2011, The Apparent Project sold $100,000 in jewelry. This moved Haitian employees from conditions of poverty to middle class status while saving children from orphanages.

Rachel Williams

Photo: Flickr

7 Facts: The Focus on Slowing Poverty In Lithuania
Lithuania is one of the three European Baltic States and also a new addition to the Eurozone. While the country faces a serious problem with rural poverty, recent indicators and initiatives suggest that Lithuania is a country on the rise.

  1. Lithuania is a high-income country. Lithuania is considered a high-income country by the World Bank. Its GNI per capita, total income claimed by residents divided by the population, is about $15,000 per year. This is significantly higher than that of Russia ($11000) but less than half of the average in the EU which stands at $34000.
  2. Very few people in Lithuania are desperately poor. Extreme or desperate poverty isn’t common in Lithuania, less than one percent of the population lives on less than one dollar a day.
  3. Poverty in Lithuania is widespread but shallow. While very few Lithuanians are extremely poor, many live in moderate poverty. Lithuania’s poverty line is set at LTL 811 ($265), and around 20 percent of the population lives below this measure.
  4. Poverty is centered in rural areas. One-third of the population live in rural areas, with half of the population employed in agriculture.
  5. Lithuania has a transitioning economy. In 2015, it became the 19th economy to use the euro. The economy of Lithuania seems to be shifting towards a knowledge-based one, as information and communication technologies are its fastest-growing sectors. However, after being hit incredibly hard by the recession in 2008, the growth of the economy has slowed in recent years.
  6. Lithuania has comparatively low unemployment and inequality levels. Despite the relatively high poverty rate in Lithuania, other development indicators like unemployment and income inequality are somewhat low. Unemployment stands at 8 percent, which is lower than in France or Italy, and the World Bank’s income inequality indicator, the GINI index, suggests that Lithuania has higher income equality than the U.S., and is comparable to that of Canada.

The EU plans to invest heavily over the next few years. The EU plans to invest $7 billion in aid to Lithuania by 2020, with the main focus on infrastructure. Other major points of investment are in renewable energy and quality employment. With continuing economic growth and help from the EU, poverty numbers may be driven down in the coming years.

John English

Photo: Flickr

poverty in the bahamas

While many Americans flock to the Bahamas for relaxing beach vacations, these tourists may not think about the economic hardships faced by their island hosts. Here are seven facts about the condition of poverty in the Bahamas:

  1. The poverty rate in the Bahamas currently sits at 12.5 percent. In 2001, the poverty rate was 9.3 percent. In 2014, the poverty line in the Bahamas stood at $4,247 compared to $2,863 as recorded in 2001.
  2. The current poverty rate is the highest for those in the under-20 demographic. Chairman of Citizens for Justice Bishop Walter Hanchell explained this statistic to The Freeport News, saying many recent high school graduates have trouble finding work as they lack the necessary skills.
  3. Unemployment contributes a great deal to poverty in the Bahamas. In 2013, unemployment was recorded at 16.2 percent and has gone down to 15.4 percent according to the 2014 Labor Force Survey. Bahamian scholar Rochelle R. Dean shared her thoughts on unemployment with Tribune242, saying, “the Bahamas has the resources, tools and labour force to reduce the unemployment rate, but lacks the vision and ambition to do so.”
  4. According to the Household Expenditure Survey, larger families are more likely to be in poverty, with 32 percent of households with seven or more members living below the poverty line.
  5. Haitians living in the Bahamas have the highest rate of poverty at 37.69 percent, although Haitians represent only 7.48 percent of the Bahamian population. The poverty rates among the islands in the Bahamas vary greatly: poverty rates are the highest within the Family Islands and lowest in Grand Bahama.
  6. Households led by women are more likely to face poverty in the Bahamas (9.7 percent) than households led by men (7.9 percent). According to the Nassau Guardian, women represent slightly more of the poor population at 51.83 percent.
  7. In 2012, 10,000 people received financial aid from the Bahamian government, an astounding increase from the 3,000 people in 2004.

Although multiple leaders in the Bahamas are at odds about how to improve the economy, all agree that something must be done, soon. With increasing poverty and unemployment rates, the citizens and leaders of the Bahamas must find a way to come together to improve these conditions.

Carrie Robinson

Photo: Flickr