The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives. Even before the onset of the crisis, the social and economic integration of young people was an ongoing challenge. Now, unless urgent action is taken, young people are likely to suffer severe and long-lasting impacts from the pandemic.
This study reports the findings from the Global Survey on Youth and COVID-19 conducted by partners of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth1 between April and May 2020. This was at the time when the COVID-19 pandemic had rapidly translated into an economic crisis. The Global Survey aimed to capture the immediate effects of the pandemic on the lives of young people (aged 18–29) with regards to employment, education, mental well-being, rights and social activism. Over 12,000 responses were received from 112 countries, with a large proportion coming from educated youth and those with Internet access. The survey population is representative of students and working youth with a tertiary education, who together account for about a quarter of youth in the countries sampled.
The study finds the impact of the pandemic on young people to be systematic, deep and disproportionate. It has been particularly hard on young women, younger youth and youth in lower-income countries. Young people are concerned about the future and their place within it. This study is their story.