Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries
Jere R. Behrman
National Research Council and Institute of Medicine
The challenges for young people making the transition to adulthood are greater today than ever before. Globalization, with its power to reach across national boundaries and into the smallest communities, carries with it the transformative power of new markets and new technology. At the same time, globalization brings with it new ideas and lifestyles that can conflict with traditional norms and values. And while the economic benefits are potentially enormous, the actual course of globalization has not been without its critics who charge that, to date, the gains have been very unevenly distributed, generating a new set of problems associated with rising inequality and social polarization. Regardless of how the globalization debate is resolved, it is clear that as broad global forces transform the world in which the next generation will live and work, the choices that today's young people make or others make on their behalf will facilitate or constrain their success as adults. Traditional expectations regarding future employment prospects and life experiences are no longer valid.
Growing Up Global examines how the transition to adulthood is changing in developing countries, and what the implications of these changes might be for those responsible for designing youth policies and programs, in particular, those affecting adolescent reproductive health. The report sets forth a framework that identifies criteria for successful transitions in the context of contemporary global changes for five key adult roles: adult worker, citizen and community participant, spouse, parent, and household manager.