The future of our world lies in the hands of the youth. They determine how the next generation of governance will take precedent and resolve the myriad social and political issues facing the world. A survey, conducted by the Ipsos and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has found that young people across all countries are more optimistic than adults. Moreover, the optimism is more profound among the youth in developing countries, as opposed to those from the developed countries in the west.
In fact, more than 90% of teenagers from countries such as Kenya, India, Mexico, and Nigeria have stated that they are optimistic about where the world is headed in their lifetime. Similar believes are held by less than 75% of Germany, UK, and France’s youth. The pessimism in developed countries stems from the fact that they are exposed to more information about the world than their counterparts belonging to developing countries. Less than 50% of India’s youth own a smartphone, and the numbers fall to 10% for Kenya. In comparison, more than 90% of youth has access to cell phones in Germany and Russia. It might be the prevalence of information in such developed countries have garnered their pessimistic attitude.
News of corruption in the government, as well as mass-immigration, has led to a large population of western country adopt strict views of nationalism. They believe that the onset of people from other nations is leading to crime and unemployment. On the other hand, a sizable portion of youth in developing countries are increasingly becoming aware of the problems facing their nation, and they are involving themselves in social reforms. As they are witnessing people of their age being involved in social change, it’s no wonder that they feel more optimistic about the future of their country, and in hindsight, the world.
A large majority of young women from these countries also believe that their living condition is set to improve in the future. As the Internet keep spreading information about equal rights, many are slowly engaging themselves in such thought processes. The idea of a society being chivalrous is fading out, as conditions for women in workplaces and at homes are drastically seeing an improvement. In comparison, the notion of young women in the western world that it’s a safe haven for them is slowly being shattered by news of high-level discrimination and assault that’s consuming a large chunk of the news.
Youth in developing countries are also upholding family values more than their western counterpart. The survey states that while more than 10% of teenagers in India and Kenya spend half their day on family chores, the number drops down to 5% for the UK and France. The youth of the western world seems significantly lost in terms of their identity, as feelings of pessimism creep on to them. Instead, the youth of the developing world is discovering love and empathy and is believing that these can be the weapon to bring change into the world.
It’s a good sign that the youth is more optimistic about the future than adults, as it’s ultimately up to them to define the next generation.