Our annual youth survey is one of the largest of its kind. Here is an overview of the results.
When you think about it, it’s quite astounding how many Australians – of all ages – feel perfectly comfortable speaking on behalf of young people.
The “experts” make sweeping generalizations about entire generations all the time. Millennials can’t afford houses because we “eat too many avocados.” Others are telling Gen Z that they’re not yet old enough to understand, let alone protest, climate change. Young people are stereotyped in every way – too lazy, bad with money, too politically disengaged, too politically engaged, whatever you want.
Now we are so used to these stereotypes that when we ask young people what they are kidding, the answers are startling. What if we told you that, in fact, Generation Z is not as militant, or feminist, as previous generations? What if we told you that young Australians are truly united on climate change and think it should be our number one priority, whatever the cost?
If you want to know what young Australians really care about, we’ve got the answers here. Over the past nine years, Junkee has partnered with research agency Pollinate to interview more than 25,000 young Australians about what matters most to them right now. Our poll is one of the largest and longest-running youth surveys of its kind, and over the years we’ve learned a lot of interesting things about what makes young people get up in the morning and what keeps them from getting up. sleep at night.
The results are in and you can see a taste of the results below. If you are a big nerd, you can find notes on our methodology at the end of this story. But now, without further ado, here’s a look at what young Australians really care.
Climate change is the number one concern of young Australians, and concerns are growing
Unsurprisingly, climate change is the number one concern of young Australians right now, and concerns have been growing for some time. When we surveyed young Australians in December 2013, 57% said climate change was affecting them right now. In March 2018, that number was 80%. This year it has risen to 84%.
As to how seriously these young Australians take the problem, the answer is clear: pretty fucking serious. In this year’s survey, we asked respondents to tell us how much they care about a particular issue, with responses ranging from “I really don’t care” to “I really don’t care”. Sixty-nine percent (nice) of respondents told us that they really give a shit about sustainability and the environment. 26% more said they didn’t care a bit, which means 95% of young Australians told us they cared a little or a lot about the environment.
Of all the issues included in the spunk meter (including gender equality, social equality, refugee rights, housing prices, LGBTIQ issues, the #MeToo movement and more), “sustainability and environment ”come first.
Interestingly, however, only 37% said they really cared about the Adani Coal Mine, which is surprising considering the number of #StopAdani shirts showing up at events like School Strike 4. Climate.
Feminism may be more relevant than ever
After the climate crisis, the second priority for Australian youth is gender equality, followed closely by social equality. Seventy percent of the young people we surveyed said they really cared about gender equality, and 66% really cared about social equality. Meanwhile, 52% of those polled said they really cared about the #MeToo movement.
And when it comes to gender equality, young Australians don’t shy away from the f word. Seventy percent said they identify as feminists, although 27 percent agree or slightly agree that feminism has gone too far.
Most of the time, however, it seems feminism is still as relevant as ever. Fifty percent of women surveyed told us they felt they should wait until they have children so as not to hamper their careers – and we can’t stress it enough, they are millennials and millennials. Gen Z. And while 48% of those polled said the #MeToo movement had improved people’s attitudes and behaviors a little, 33% said things hadn’t changed much. Only one percent think the #MeToo movement has made a lot of difference – in other words, there is still a long way to go.
Don’t assume you know Gen Z
So far, we have reported these results as if they applied to young people as a whole. But the 16-35 year olds are a pretty big age group, and it turns out that there are some pretty big differences within that group. We’ve broken the group down into Millennials (24-35) and Generation Z (16-23), and it turns out there are some really surprising differences between the generations.
Take the passion for social justice, for example. While 61% of young people said they were passionate about social justice issues, when you break that number down by generation, it turns out that 65% of Millennials were passionate about social justice, compared to just 53% of the Generation Z. That’s a pretty big gap, and goes against the stereotype of Generation Z as a passionate and activist generation. A similar generational gap arose when we looked at who thought feminism had gone too far. Nineteen percent of Millennials agreed feminism has gone too far, compared to 38% of Gen Z – a huge difference, and not necessarily the one you’d expect.
As to why, it turns out there is a gender divide at play. While Gen Z women are as ever feminist, Gen Z men are seriously lagging behind (67% of Gen Y men identified as feminists, compared to 56% of Gen Z men). Gen Z men were also more likely to think feminism had gone too far (44% of Gen Z men agreed, vs. 32% of Gen Z women), although there was still a significant gap between Gen Z and Millennials on this issue (23 percent of millennial men and 17 percent of millennial women thought feminism had gone too far). And finally, Gen Z men were much less passionate about social justice than Gen Z women (41% of Gen Z men were passionate about social justice, vs. 63% of Gen Z women) .
Gen Z were also much more optimistic about things like the possibility of having a career. and raising a family (75% of Gen Z think it’s possible, vs. 57% of Millennials). If it’s just a consequence of Gen Z having less life experience than Millennials, who knows? Either way, let this be a reminder for you: don’t assume you know what Gen Z is thinking. They might just surprise you.
Australia’s major political parties need to be careful
Which brings us to this: a warning to Australia’s major political parties. Gen Y and Gen Z respondents told us they were quite unhappy with Australia’s main political parties – only 33% of Labor supporters and 34% of Liberal supporters told us they were happy with the actions and party policies. In contrast, 63% of Green supporters told us they were happy with the party.
In general, however, 50% of young Australians between the ages of 16 and 35 told us that they think Australian political parties don’t listen to people their age. Forty-one percent believed that political parties listened to young people “a little”.
It also appears that many of the burning issues of Australia’s main political parties don’t really resonate with young people. Immigration and terrorism, for example, came second to last and last in the list of issues young people said they are currently concerned about, respectively – only 36% of young Australians are concerned about terrorism.
It turns out that today’s youth are more concerned with data privacy and the economy than with immigration and terrorism. And as we said before, their main concern is climate change. If the big parties don’t start to seriously tackle the issues that preoccupy young people, they could be in shock in the next election.
A methodological note
A quick methodology note for all data enthusiasts: Our annual youth survey is posted on our network of youth-focused websites including Junkee, AWOL, and Punkee. The 30-minute online survey was open from February 8 to March 6 of this year, and we received 2,315 responses aged 16 to 35. Over the years, we’ve surveyed over 25,000 young Australians and weighted our sample by gender and age to ensure comparability over time.
As for how this sample compares to the Australian population, it is fairly representative in terms of age and gender. We found a slight metropolitan lag (more respondents from cities than regional and rural Australia) and a higher proportion of green voters than the general population, which is worth considering when looking at the results. .
Did you like this look at our data? There’s a lot more where this came from – read more about Junkee’s annual youth survey here.