Unemployment and Violence Two Main Worries of Brazil’s Youth

Young people in Brazil, between the ages of 15 and 24, are mainly worried about two things: violence and work. That was the conclusion of a 2003 Profile of Brazilian Youth survey which was run by Gustavo Venturi, a sociologist, as part of the government’s Youth Project.

The Citizenship Institute, Small Business Adminstration and the Hospitality Institute (Instituto Cidadania, Sebrae and Instituto de Hospitalidade) also participated in the survey.

It is now possible to compare the Venturi 2003 survey data with the UN 2005 Report on World Youth which has just been released. And the comparison shows that the results of the two surveys are congruent in many ways.

For example, the UN report states that based on International Labor Organization statistics, it can be seen that worldwide youth unemployment rose from 11.7% to 14.4% during the decade between 1993 and 2003, which was a record high. In Brazil youth unemployment was as high as 40% during that period.

The UN report also points out that 200 million youths worldwide live in poverty, 130 million are illiterate, 88 million are unemployed and 10 million are HIV/AIDS positive. The report concludes with a call for governments to work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals because that will give young people problems the attention they deserve.

The Venturi survey reported that 60% of the youths who do work in Brazil say they have to work. And a majority also make financial contributions to their family budgets.

Even so, having a job does translate into a certain degree of independence for these young people. "At least they feel independent. Having a job is fundamental for them," says Venturi.

With regard to violence, the numbers show clearly that the main victims of violence in Brazil are young people, with assassination and automobile accidents the main causes of early death. In the Venturi survey, 43% of those interviewed said they knew someone who had died a violent death.

Twenty percent said they had been robbed at least once. "Violence is a part of their daily lives. One of the results of this is that, as a group, they strongly support policies to reduce violence," says Venturi.

The Venturi survey found young people more or less evenly divided on the issue of disarmament. However, 75% said they favored lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16.

The study interviewed 3,501 youths in 198 municipalities in locations both urban and rural in all regions of the country.

Agência Brasil

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