Understanding Young People in Australia Today

Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice

The 2021 Australian Youth Barometer: Understanding Young People in Australia Today

Report authors: Lucas Walsh, Catherine Waite, Bertalan Magyar, Beatriz Gallo Cordoba, Masha Mikola, Blake Cutler

The 2021 Australian Youth Barometer surveyed over 500 young Australians aged 18 to 24 on topics including education, employment, health and wellbeing, finances, housing, civic participation and the impact of COVID-19.

Download the report: The 2021 Australian Youth Barometer: Understanding Young People in Australia Today

The findings paint a complex picture of young Australians today.  The 2021 Youth Barometer highlights a mix of positivity and resilience amongst young people, while also showing deeper challenges related to their futures. 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.

The concerns expressed by young people about climate change, work, health and well-being, and technology are shared by many Australians across a wide variety of age groups. The attitudes and views of young people in this report provide windows into the wider worlds that we all inhabit and that should consequently concern us all.

"We can all learn so much from young people who own the responsibility of ensuring that their world and policies reflect their needs. The Youth Barometer is a brilliant way to amplify the voices of young people . . . This important work has laid a baseline of youth voice which will enable future evaluations to track youth sentiment, anxiety, attitudes, hopes and dreams."
Katrina Reynen, OAM, Chair, CYPEP Advisory Board

Some of the key findings include:

  • Security in terms of their standard of living was a big concern for young Australians. Interviews with young people identified that they were worried about being able to afford a house in the current housing market. More than two-thirds of young people surveyed reported that it was the government’s responsibility to ensure access to affordable housing for everyone.
  • For young people who were struggling financially, food and housing were prioritised while other aspects of life such as socialising took a back seat. Young women and those living with a disability reported experiencing more stress related to financial security.
  • Just under one-third of young people reported having poor or very poor mental health. Participants described physical and mental health as two sides of the same coin—health was multifaceted and maintained using diverse strategies and coping mechanisms.