The labor topography of central highland Guatemala youth: Employment diversification, health, and education in the context of poverty

Liliana Goldín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study examines employment dynamics of youth in the central highlands of Guatemala. It is during late adolescence and early young adulthood that rural youth explore and settle into occupational structures that often define their economic lives and the region's economic outlook. However, the occupational orientations of this group are poorly documented.

Design/methodology/approach: The study used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. A three wave longitudinal design with six-month intervals was implemented. Households were identified using random sampling based on household maps. Two individuals per household were interviewed, a female adult and a younger woman/man between 15 and 25 years old in 451 households. In-depth interviews also were conducted with 25 individuals.

Findings: Youth occupational choices were associated not only with their health, income, and standing in their household, but also their selfimage, sense of independence, and control. Nonfarm jobs were found to be most attractive to youth, who identify them as more "modern" and urban jobs. The study documents shifts from farm to nonfarm jobs, gender dynamics, the impact education has on jobs for youth, and health correlates of employment and unemployment.

Originality/value: Most characterizations of employment patterns in rural areas of Guatemala focus on the "head of household," while overlooking the diverse job activities of other members of the household. The study not only addresses a population that is often understudied but also provides a longitudinal perspective to understand job switching and youth ideas of a "good" and "better" job.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-347
Number of pages33
JournalResearch in Economic Anthropology
Volume34
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Employment
  • Farm and nonfarm jobs
  • Guatemala
  • Maya
  • Rural youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Economics and Econometrics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The labor topography of central highland Guatemala youth: Employment diversification, health, and education in the context of poverty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this