The national survey of young Australians was conducted under the initiative called Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2021. The survey was open to all young Australians aged 15-19. The purpose of the survey is to enable young people to voice their concerns, and aspirations that can guide policymakers to shape policies, and bring about change that is important to the youth. This is one of the most influential surveys focusing on the youth of Australia and it has is being conducted for the past 20 years.
Ben Carblis from Mission Australia joined Neil Johnson on 20Twenty to discuss the result of the survey and highlight some of the major concerns of the youth that have surfaced from it.
The results of the 2020 survey revealed that the top concern was equity and discrimination, followed by COVID-19 and then mental health. Ben elaborated on this, “The question that young people are asked is whether they faced unfair treatment in the past year.”
55% of people who participated in the survey responded that they have witnessed it. The question then asked whether they faced it themselves or they witnessed someone else being treated unfairly. 41% said that they have experienced it due to their gender, 30% said they faced it due to race or cultural background, and 26% based on their mental health.
As far as the people who witnessed it, 62% reported that it was due to a person’s race or cultural background, and 49% faced it due to their gender. Ben then moved on to the second issue which was COVID-19. Since the pandemic is still surging, they plan on including more questions in this year’s survey. “We are going to ask a different range of questions this year. The survey is open and it closes on the 9th of August.”
The major concerns among the youth with regards to COVID-19 are education and mental health. The certainty of the future is also a major concern that includes certainty of employment, and the chances of achieving their dreams. The pandemic led to a rise in the unemployment rate but the youth unemployment rate took a drastic hit last year due to the pandemic.
Ben also spoke about the scale of the youth survey sharing that over 25000 young people responded to the survey. The power of the survey is the collective voice of our young people.
“Young people need a voice and this a platform where they have the opportunity to share their say. We are really encouraged by the schools that are on-board. We are trying to get more schools and church groups to engage.”
The survey allows Mission Australia to sit with senior bureaucrats, politicians, and senior government officials to understand the breakdown of the survey. The survey is also analysed in a comparative mode wherein they look at what problems were highlighted by the participants versus what other young people are saying. The results are discussed with the officials so that a concrete policy can be designed to address these concerns. The survey is a means to amplify the voices of young people so Mission Australia encourages as many young people to participate as possible.
The survey has been conducted for the past 20 years and there is a new breed of participants joining every year. It is natural to assume that the survey has witnessed some change in trends over the years. Ben explained that over the last 7-10 years there has been a change in attitude that has been recorded by the survey. There has been a considerable increase in concerns about mental health among youth. It is a real challenge and the response has paved way for the necessary policies that need to be made for it. Concerns with alcohol and drugs have always been one of the top issues over the past 20 years. Discrimination has also been an issue but there has been a drastic increase in the previous year.
For more information, please visit missionaustralia.com.au/youthsurvey