Youth on decline
By DARCEL CHOY Wednesday, February 20 2013
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I SWEAR: Barbara Burke takes the Oath as a Temporary Senator during yesterday's sitting at the International Waterfront Centre in Port-of-Spain. Behin...
THERE has been a significant decline in the number of young people between the ages of five to 19, in Trinidad and Tobago, with steep declines in ages ten to 19, also being noted.
These latest statistics are found in the 2011 Population and Housing Census demographic report released yesterday at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain.
In 2000, there were 104,507 children between the ages of five to nine and in 2011, 91,330 in this age group. There were 129,404 in 2000, in the ten to 14 age group and 87,963, in 2011. In the 15 to 19 age group, there were 138,477 in 2000 and 98,378 in 2011.
Director of Statistics in the Central Statistical Office (CSO) Dave Clement said he did not want to speculate as to the reasons (including murder) behind the decline in young people as the information in the report was new to them and needs to be analysed a lot more.
Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie noted there has been a major decrease in the number of children sitting the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) which indicates that many people are choosing to have smaller families. The current birth rate of the population was at 2.5 percent from 3.1 percent in 2000.
The census found that TT has an aging population with close to one half of the population of 1,328,019 over the age of 40 and 129,029 people over the age of 65, which measured nine percent. The two age ranges which were becoming dominant are 20 to 34 and 45 to 55 years.
Tewarie reiterated that there has been a slowing of the growth rate of the country’s population from 1990 to now noting that from 2000 to 2011 the population grew by only one half percent, one tenth of a percentage point more than the decade before. Tewarie said what was found in the census showed there were a number of things that needed attention.
“The first thing is the aging population, the second thing is the rate of growth of the population and therefore the birth rate of the population and the size of the population we need to achieve the strategies and objectives of development as a really successful country,” he said.
He noted the other issues were that there was a number of people in society that were not very educated but there was a growing number of people that were moving into tertiary education.
“That tells us is that we now have to prepare for a different kind of population and we have got to address how we absorb these people and keep them happy,” Tewarie said.
The census found that 29.8 percent of the population had attained up to primary level education and 43.5 percent attained secondary level.
At tertiary level 6.2 percent attained some tertiary (but not university) and 8.4 percent university level education making a total of 14.6 with some exposure to tertiary education, 14.6 percent of the population translates to just under 194,000 with some level of tertiary education. Those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher represented 6.5 percent of the population which measured just over 86,000 and more women had tertiary education than men.
When asked what was the reason for the low percentage of persons with a Bachelor’s degree, Clement said in the survey a significant number of persons did not respond to that question.