Comparative Adolescences: Adolescents' Demographic Statuses in Developing Countries

Elizabeth Fussell, Tulane University
Claudia Buchmann, Ohio State University
Carlos Costa-Ribeiro, Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ)
Silvia E. Giorguli Saucedo, El Colegio de MĂ©xico
Emily Hannum, University of Pennsylvania
Flora J. Nankhuni, Harvard University
Florencia Torche, City University of New York

Adolescence is a period in the life course in which families and societies teach youth to become adults. Societies prepare youth for adulthood in ways that depend on the institutional resources and cultural practices of the society. Therefore, adolescents leave school, become employed, leave their parents’ households and form new households, and enter into marriage and parenthood at different ages and at different rates. In this paper we use the entropy index of status combinations in synthetic cohorts to compare the structure of adolescence in Brazil, Chile, China, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, South Africa and Vietnam. Our findings show that adolescence varies in the ages at which it begins, ends and its duration, as well as the status combinations that constitute adolescence. In each country significant differences exist in the influence of each of the five statuses (student, worker, household relationship, marital and parental statuses) on shaping the transition to adulthood.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Children and Youth, Adolescence, Parenting, Transition to Adulthood, Life Course