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Jim Hill High School

Position Paper: The Foundation of Every State is its Youth
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The Foundation of Every State is Its Youth

 

On every continent and in every country, state, and city, there are children and adolescents. These children and adolescents will one day become adults and leaders of their countries and states. The foundation of every state is its youth. What today’s youth encounter today, will determine the outcome of their state in the future.

More than one in every four people in the world are youth, according to The World’s Youth 2006 Data Sheet taken from the Population Reference Bureau. The number of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 is 1.1 billion. Youth comprise 18 percent of the global population. Youth and children together (24 and younger) account for 40 percent of the world's population, based on information taken from Advocates for Youth.

The fact that youth and children account for almost half of the world’s population indicates that they have power. They have power to make decisions and impact the world in a way that they change the world forever. For example, if today’s youth (those over the age of 18) vote in massive numbers, they may be able to elect the President of the United States. This person will have the power to change America. Thus, the youth can have a strong impact in the nation. The youth can impact the world in a very positive way.

In contrast, the youth can impact the world in a negative way.  About 133 million youth in the world are illiterate. If more youth become illiterate in the future, it can be disastrous to our nation. For example, today’s youth may choose to drop out of school in larger numbers. When they get older, they may find it difficult to obtain employment. This will lead to poverty in their households. Soon, they will have children that will be born into poverty. What’s worse, they won’t even be able to educate them. So the cycle will continue. Illiterate individuals giving birth to children that they can’t educate will result in more illiterate people. So it is imperative that today’s youth begin to appreciate school and take it seriously.

In addition, the largest population of youth is located in Asia and the Pacific. Approximately 60 percent of youth live in Asia. About 15 percent reside in Africa, and 10 percent live in Latin America and the Caribbean. The remaining 15 percent reside in developed countries and regions. In Mississippi, there are 429,484 families with 752,358 children. About 29 percent or 215,223 of the children in Mississippi live in poor families defined as income below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, based on information gathered from the National Center for Children in Poverty. (Click below to see chart)

                Furthermore, if these children grow to become poverty-stricken themselves, the cycle will continue. It is only when that cycle is broken that there will be hope for the future. For example, it today’s youth will continue their education without dropping out, complete some form of postsecondary education, and obtain a stable career, then perhaps, the cycle will be broken. These individuals will give birth to children that they can take care of and will be able to provide opportunities for them to be successful.

            No matter what state, the foundation of that state lies in the lives of its youth.

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