Teens In Kenya And China Are Way More Optimistic Than Teens In Sweden And France

A survey across 15 countries found that 90 percent of teens in Kenya, Mexico, China, and Nigeria are hopeful for the future.

Teens In Kenya And China Are Way More Optimistic Than Teens In Sweden  And France

Teenagers in developing nations have more positive outlooks on their future, according to a new study that polled young people across 15 different countries.

More than 7,000 interviews were conducted around the world among people aged 12 and over during a six-week period this summer.  The study, conducted by Ipsos, found that more than nine in 10 young people in Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, India, and China reported feeling optimistic about their future. Conversely, teens in France and Sweden had the most negative outlooks of all the surveyed countries. Meanwhile, youth in Germany, Great Britain, and Australia fell somewhere in the middle.

"Young people [in the west] are faced with these stories of millennials being the first generation not to do better than their parents and there's perhaps an emerging, collective perception in the developed countries of scarcity of opportunities," Michael Birkjaer told The Guardian. "In developing countries, the social benchmark of the good life is perhaps perceived as more achievable."


While there were varying degrees of optimism among them, young people across all countries were found to be more optimistic than adults. The finding also showed that the majority felt let down by political leaders. As the poll concluded, general political dissatisfaction was reported by almost half of the teens from every country, with two notable exceptions: Saudi Arabia and India. The feeling was especially strong in Brazil and Nigeria, where three out of four young people said they felt politicians didn't care about them.

Politics isn't the only thing teens around the world are worried about, according to the survey. Education, unemployment, and security also remain among their top concerns. While 70 percent of young people reported spending half or more of the day studying, there were differences between the youth in each country. Almost 20 percent of young Kenyans spend around half their day on chores, housework or caring for family members while only 5 percent of children in France do.

Technology also plays a factor in the quality of education across various countries. The survey found that three-quarters of respondents in Kenya said they didn't have access to a computer, internet, or a smartphone at home while less than two-thirds in Nigeria reported the same. A third of young people from India were under similar circumstances. Two-thirds or more of the respondents in the rest of the world had internet, computer, or phone access.

This discrepancy is expected to gradually change in the future, although there are cost challenges and language barriers to consider. According to The Guardian, International Telecommunications Union predicts that 50 percent of the world's population will be online by the end of 2019. Increased access to internet could make a significant difference in the education of young people around the world, as well as their ability to start a business or create jobs for themselves.

"Young people still manage to remain optimistic and invested in their future, making their own sacrifices to get ahead," said Awit, also adding, "They just want to get involved in the daily process of running society."

Cover image via Jonathan Torgovnik for The Hewlett Foundation/Reportage by Getty Images.


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