Teens in Developing Nations Are More Optimistic About Their Futures Than Those in Western Europe


A new survey by Ipsos found that teenagers in developing nations are staggeringly more optimistic about their futures than those in developed, western European nations, the Guardian reports. The study, which looked at a variety of factors including access/knowledge of politics, living conditions, women’s rights and education, determined that 90% of teens in Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria and China are hopeful, though there “was widespread dissatisfaction with politicians” across all countries, developing and developed.

There are a variety of factors for this unexpected shift. Aga Khan University’s Dr Alex Awiti told the Guardian young people in East Africa (Kenya) are positive because of their activism and power:

“If young people want to mobilize, all the governments in east Africa could be toppled within a matter of days. What is impressive is young people across east Africa really know what they want…Young people still manage to remain optimistic and invested in their future, making their own sacrifices to get ahead. They also want to succeed, they want everything everybody wants, they want to buy a home, buy a car. They just want to get involved in the daily process of running society.”

In contrast, an analyst for the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark, Michael Birkjaer, believes the financial crisis and “loneliness epidemic in the west” is responsible for Western European teens’ pessimism. He told the Guardian, “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. In developing countries the social benchmark of the good life is perhaps perceived as more achievable.”

There’s a lot of interesting data that seems to verify both claims: only one in five teens in France and 27 percent of teens in the U.K. claimed to be knowledgable in politics, the effect of indifference. In India, that number skyrockets to 55 percent. More and more young women in India, too, are interested in participating in women’s rights to counteract the growing violence against them—almost eight in 10 respondents said “they were confident that living conditions for women and girls in India would improve over the next 15 years,” according to the survey. (In June, as you might recall, a 2018 survey of 548 women’s issues experts conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation found India to be the most dangerous country in the world for women.)

Read more from the Guardian here.

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