Young people, regardless of their socioeconomic, demographic or geographical situations, face some degree of difficulty or uncertainty as they transition to adulthood. However, the situation that youth experiences in developing countries—some 87 percent of the global youth population—is one of the most difficult in many respects, and the picture is particularly grave for adolescent girls and young women. Youth are disproportionately affected by high unemployment rates. The AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa has already orphaned a generation of youth, and it is expected that 15 to 25 percent of children in a dozen sub-Saharan African countries will have been orphaned by AIDS by 2020.
This generation faces a very difficult transition from childhood to adulthood as they often become heads of household at a much younger age than other less vulnerable youth.