Murder Is Leading Cause of Death for Mexico’s Youth

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Murder rates for 15-19 year old males in Mexico more than doubled between 2007 and 2009, with homicide becoming the leading cause of death for young people in the country.

According to statistics released by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the homicide rate for males aged 15?29 increased 154 percent between the years 2007 and 2009. The rate increased 89 percent for females aged 15?29 during the same period.

An analysis of these statistics by the newspaper El Universal reveals that young people in the northern state of Chihuahua, which includes the border city of Ciudad Juarez, have been most affected by the violence against young people. In 2009, the state registered more than 1,647 youth homicides, a 719 percent increase since 2007. Durango, Baja California and Sinaloa also registered exponential growth in killings of young people related to organized crime.

Many young people involved with organized crime in Mexico lack education beyond primary school and have little opportunity for gainful employment, making them increasingly susceptible to being drawn into organized crime. More than 23,000 youths are thought to work with Mexican gangs in retail drug distribution, security and even as assassins.

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