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Adolescents and youth

© UNICEF-Indonesia_050906_Josh Estey

Indonesian youth - a foundation for the future  

There are some 40 million Indonesians aged between 15 and 24 years old, representing around 15 per cent of the total population. As such, this group represents an important foundation for the nation's long term growth and success.  

Youth literacy rates are generally high; latest official data shows an overall literacy rate amongst young people aged 15-24 of more than 98 per cent. However, there are notable geograpghic differences - Papua province reports a literacy rate of 86 per cent, and a total of 13 provinces have rates below the national average. While girls' literacy is improving, overall levels amongst young women average at under 90 per cent.  

One in every five young Indonesians is neither employed or involved in education, and participation in the labour market amongst girls is 17 per cent lower than for boys.While school drop-out has some impact on employment prospects, half of young unemployed Indonesian do have at least a junior secondary level education.  

Indonesian youth are exposed to a number of specific risks. Almost a quarter of young men have never heard of AIDS, and two-thirds of young men and almost three-quarters of young women have no knowledge of symptoms of sexually transmitted illnesses.  

While data is limited and of mixed quality, there are a number of studies that, together, indicate that young people are exposed to serious levels of violence in schools, in their homes and in their communities. This includes physical violence and sexual abuse.   

The most recent data available reports that just over one-quarter of women aged between 20 and 24 years old had become married before the age of 18. While there are significant variations between different provinces, the overall national trend is downwards - ten years ago, this figure was nearly one-third.  

At the same time, early marriage in rural areas is considerably higher than in urban areas - an overall difference of some 15 per cent.



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