By 96five NetworkMonday 19 Dec 2022RelationshipsReading Time: 3 minutes
The second annual Australian Youth Barometer report examines the issues facing young people in Australia.
After a comprehensive survey of 505 young people from every corner of the nation and a series of in-depth interviews, the report echoes the voices of Australia’s 18-24 year olds.
The report’s findings paint a sombre picture of how young Australians currently feel about their lives and their future.
The report co-authored by Professor Lucas Walsh, Dr Beatriz Gallo Cordoba, Dr Catherine Waite, and Blake Cutler examines the impact of issues such as the economy, work, education, housing well-being, relationships and participation in society through the eyes of young Australians.
“While young Australians are resilient, too many are hurting” lead author Professor Lucas Walsh said.
“They are experiencing poor mental health and nearly a quarter haven’t been able to access the food they need.”
They’re worried, anxious and pessimistic about the future. After years of disruption, nearly half felt as though they missed out on being young.”
Among the report’s key findings:
- A sense of belonging matters to young Australians but less than half of respondents felt like they belonged when they were at their educational institution.
- Only one in five are studying exclusively face-to-face.
- The types of qualifications young people are choosing is changing, with nearly 60% of young people reporting that they hold, or have been enrolled in, a micro-credential, micro-degree or micro masters.
- Only 53% of young Australians agree that their education prepared them for the future.
- Most young Australians desire full-time, long-term, secure and flexible work, but wider trends suggest this is less attainable.
- Over half (56%) report earning income from gig work in the last year.
- Young people with a long-term illness or a physical disability are more likely to earn income from gig work compared to young people without a disability.
- The vast majority of young Australians (90%) experienced financial difficulties at some point during the last 12 months.
- With rising costs of living, some are concerned about their access to fresh fruits and vegetables now and in the future. In the past 12 months, almost one-quarter of young Australians experienced food insecurity.
- Half went without eating for a whole day because of lack of money at some point during the same period.
- Over half (53%) think they will be financially worse off than their parents.
- A similar proportion (54%) believe it is likely that they would achieve financial security in their future.
- The majority (85%) of young Australians report having some form of financial investment.
- Young Australians perceive a movement towards more equal gender relationships at home, with over half (56%) believing that unpaid domestic work is not determined by gender. However, a large proportion (59%) think that the type of career pathway young people choose and the amount of money young people get paid in the workforce (58%) are determined by one’s gender.
Health and well-being
- Almost one-quarter rate their mental health as poor or very poor.
- Most (85%) report feelings of worry, anxiety or pessimism. Almost one-half (45%) often felt as though they were missing out on being young.
Civic participation and social media
- Young Australians are engaged in their communities. Almost three-quarters of participants volunteered, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people more likely to have volunteered during the last year compared with other young Australians.
- Most (87%) respondents see barriers to being involved in organised activities on issues important to them.
- More than half (56%) of young Australians used their social media profiles to try to influence social change.
- Most believe that social media can assist under-represented groups to amplify their voice and shine a light on important issues.
- Social media platforms are seen by some as echo chambers and have negative emotional impacts.
- One in five young Australians agree or strongly agree that writing insulting things online is not bullying
- A quarter agree or strongly agree that there are no rules online and that they can do whatever they want.
Overall, the report indicates that over half of young Australians feel they will be worse off than their parents in the coming years.
The Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice is a multi-disciplinary initiative undertaking research into the social, political and economic factors that affect young people’s lives. The Centre aims to change the conversation about young people’s futures and how we can work with them, educators and policy makers, to address disadvantages and build thriving communities.
Read the full report here: The 2022 Australian Youth Barometer