Citizens aged between 10 and 24 in emerging market countries have never been more numerous and, in light of current projections, will never be more so. They represent the future of emerging markets, yet their attributes are widely misunderstood and their needs are often ignored. Their journeys from childhood to adulthood begin with the onset of puberty and end with the achievement of relative self-sufficiency. For many of them, as for many young people in richer and poorer countries, the journey is traumatic. But because emerging markets combine the attributes of advanced modernity and extreme poverty and are changing at unprecedented speeds on unmatched scales, the transitions may be harder in emerging markets than elsewhere.
Previous EMS reports on other phases of the human life-course have advanced sound arguments for prioritizing maternal and child health and nutrition and the welfare of older people. This report, Youth and the Future of Emerging Markets, argues that sustained economic growth, social cohesion and political stability in emerging markets will crucially depend on successful efforts by governments, businesses and civil society organizations to integrate health, education, economic and social policies that address the specific needs of young people.