Historical and Projected Population Dynamics of Caribbean Youth Populations: Implications for Youth Policy Agendas

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Godfrey St. BERNARD, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago
Population dynamics are reflected in changes in the sizes and composition of youth populations in all societies and have a profound impact in shaping current and prospective youth policy agendas. This paper traces such dynamics over a period of one hundred years beginning in the post World War II period and ending in 2050. These dynamics permit todays governments to learn from the errors of earlier administrations and appreciate the power of population dynamics in informing pro-active thrusts toward framing youth policy for subsequent generations.

Given such policy thrusts, the paper focuses on population dynamics in six Caribbean countries - Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. These dynamics are explored to discern the extent to which cohorts of youth in the immediate post-indpendence eras, may have been disadvantaged due social planning strategies that may have either overlooked or inappropriately addressed population dynamics in framing youth policy agendas. Specifically, the paper seeks to demonstrate the value of social planning in embracing population dynamics as a pro-active mechanism for bestowing advantages upon emergent generations of youth between 2020 and 2050.

Secondary data are obtained from all population census counts in each of the six countries between 1946 and 2012. From the mid-2010s until 2050, population projections are provided in accordance with five–year intervals. Descriptive statistics are used to link changes in youth population sizes to the variable fortunes of different youth cohorts in their quest to participate in education at different levels and in their pursuit of labour force activities.

Notwithstanding similar youth demographic trajectories that are likely to characterize emergent youth populations between 2020 and 2050 in each of the six countries, current socio-demographic outcomes characterizing the first decade of the 21st century imply that some countries may experience likely differences in framing their youth policy agendas.