By TILEAH DOBSON
Young people in Australia today are dealing with copious amounts of stress. From social, physical, financial, and now a pandemic was thrown in, it’s no wonder most of us are anxiety-riddled messes.
New research conducted by the Monash Centre for Youth Policy and Education (CYPEP) has found that youth people are experiencing more financial worries than ever before.
The 2021 Australian Youth Barometer, which had been conducted by CYPEP, surveyed over 500 Australians between the ages of 18-24. The report focused on the views of young Australians on topics such as education, employment, health and wellbeing, finances, housing, civic participation and Covid-19’s impact.
One of the biggest concerns found in the study was security for young Australians. 69 per cent of young people felt it was the government’s responsibility to ensure access to affordable housing for everyone. Their biggest concern in this area was whether or not they’d be able to afford a house in the current market.
22 per cent said they were struggling financially, with food and housing their main priorities. Young Australians with a disability were 1.7 times more likely to report financial difficulties.
Director of CYPEP, Professor Lucas Walsh, says the findings have highlighted the complex picture of what it means to be a young Australian.
“The Barometer highlights a mix of positivity and resilience amongst young people, while also showing deeper challenges related to their futures,” Professor Walsh said.
“The survey findings showed the pressures some young Australians were under and provided an insight into understanding what ‘the new normal’ might look like post-COVID and how we can collectively build thriving communities and sustainable futures for the benefit of all Australians.”
Although the reported buy-now-pay-later services like Afterpay have a negative impact on their finances, 53 per cent are reportedly using them on a regular basis. Social media was given mixed feelings by the participants, despite their stereotypes.
29 per cent of people, just under a third, reported having poor or very poor mental health. Chair of CYPEP Advisory Board, Katrina Reynen OAM, attributes these results to young Australians experiencing ‘unprecedented’ times and continuing to make up the new normal as they go along.
“We can all learn so much from young people who own the responsibility of ensuring that their world and policies reflect their needs,” Reynen said.
“The Youth Barometer is a brilliant way to amplify the voices of young people and is underpinned by the world-renowned research capability of Monash University. This important work has laid a baseline of youth voice which will enable future evaluations to track youth sentiment, anxiety, attitudes, hopes and dreams.”
Despite living through a pandemic and switching to online learning, the survey found 58 per cent of young people were satisfied with online learning. This hugely outweighs the 14.7 per cent that was unsatisfied with the new switch to learning.
Tileah Dobson is an editor for W’SUP and the news editor for the Sydney Sentinel.