According to The Economist
, one similarity between seemingly dissimilar Gaza and Kenya is that they both have “too many young men without either jobs or prospects
.” Improvements in health and education—which resulted in more current 15-to-24-year-olds being healthy and relatively well-educated—have not been matched by sufficient growth of economic opportunities, leaving many young people frustrated in their attempts to provide for themselves and their families. Fertility rates have fallen somewhat in both places, from around seven children per woman 20 years ago to approximately five today—but this is still far higher than the 1.6 children per woman average in developed countries.
For a more detailed analysis of the relationships between large youth cohorts and conflict, see Population Action International’s report The Shape of Things to Come. As report author Elizabeth Leahy noted at the Wilson Center in October 2007, “The problem is not that there are too many young people, but that there are too few opportunities and resources available to them….Young people are the most important asset a society has in looking to the future. When young people are educated, healthy, and employed, they are the ones who renew and revitalize a country’s economy and institutions.”