This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

USAID Funds Programs in Latin America to Keep Kids There--Do They Work?

Although the surge of unaccompanied minor children from Central America to the US has simmered down, it has not disappeared. More importantly, the reasons why kids want to leave Central America have not changed much--at least not yet. To its credit, the US government has stepped up with money spread around the region to create programs for kids that, with luck, may give them a better life than either being in a gang or trying to avoid being killed by a gang. Are they working? Well, let's just say that it seems to be a slow start, as my PhD student, Elizabeth Kennedy, pointed out on tonight's PBS NewsHour. Afterwards, she was concerned that she came off as more critical than she really is of these programs--after all, something is betting than nothing, and everything needs to be seen in context. But we should not just sit back and assume that pumping a few million dollars into neighborhood programs in places like San Salvador will automatically solve deep-rooted problems. Indeed, these problems are rooted in the US drug market and criminal justice system as much as they are rooted in the dysfunction of Central American societies.

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