The World Bank

has detected a pressing issue in Mexico : The number of young people who are neither working nor studying (often called “Ninis”) is increasing. The problem “could be related to organized crime and violence, which increases risks for young people and society as a whole.”

Their report called Ninis in Latin America: 20 million young people in search of opportunities,’ the international organism describes that, in Mexico, this problem is caused by three factors: “An increase in the number of male ninis, a general lack of opportunities for young people, and illegal market growth, which causes organized crime to seek a larger workforce.”

Furthermore, it adds that, should the results of the study in Mexico be extrapolated to other countries in the region, the existence of male ninis could also be correlated to violence in Central American countries such as Honduras , Guatemala , Panama , and El Salvador . “Some ninis could actually be participating in criminal activities that cause great harm to themselves and society,” stated the document.

Based on data from the National Survey on Occupation and Employment , as well as official statistics on the number of murders in the country, the study shows that, between 2008 and 2013 , when the murder rate was tripled in Mexico , “there was a positive and significant correlation between the number of ninis and the murder rates. There was also a positive correlation between ninis and murder rates in states bordering the United States, a region that has been deeply affected both by organized crime, and the economic crises of 2008 and 2009 .”

The profile of a Mexican and Latin American nini is typically a young man of between 19 and 24 years of age who lives in a big city and didn’t finish high school . The early drop-out is usually due to the growing need to work informally at an early age in order to survive, followed by unemployment.

“When they drop school before finishing high school, young people usually lack the abilities needed to get a job in the formal sector , which is why in most cases, these people settle for temporary and unstable jobs in the informal sector. Once they lose these jobs, they never go back to school,” the document explains.

Women represent two thirds of the nini population

in the region and the most important risk factors they face are marriage before the age of majority and teenage pregnancy . Some of their most common traits are that they didn’t finish high school, they live in cities, and t experience conditions of poverty or vulnerability.

The study was conducted by the former Assistant Secretary of Higher Secondary Education in Mexico, Miguel Székely Pardo . The document includes 238 surveys made in different countries of Latin America “in order to find determining factors causing young men and women to become ninis and assess the long-term effects of this phenomenon on employability and wages.”

In Mexico, where most school drop-outs are registered at high-school levels, the World Bank suggests combining early warning systems to identify young people at risk of abandoning their studies with social-emotional interventions and mentorships : “Some training and vocational rehabilitation programs with innovative designs along with public employment services may improve the employability of young people,” the study suggests.

Most ninis doubt that the government could contribute to the solution . They believe that they can solve the problem on their own, through their hard work. Some of them hope for a higher income, which is unlikely . They dream of becoming professional soccer players, or leaving the country to work at cruises. Others prefer to emigrate to the United States,” the document explains.


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