2021 Mission Australia Youth Survey

About the Mission Australia Youth Survey

The Mission Australia Youth Survey is the largest annual survey of young people in Australia. Now in its 20th year, the Mission Australia Youth Survey continues to provide a platform for young people aged 15 to 19 to share their values, aspirations and concerns.

The results of the Youth Survey are shared with governments, non-government organisations, schools and social commentators to inform the debate around the circumstances of young people in Australia and to support the development of policies, services and programs that have the needs of young people at their core.

Highlights from the 2021 Youth Survey

Last year 20,207 young people participated in the 20th annual Youth Survey. This landmark report provides rich and compelling evidence collected during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic about young people’s challenges, concerns, experiences and barriers to achieving their goals.

For the first time, COVID-19 is most important national issue according to young people, rising from second place in 2020 (38.8%) to the top spot in 2021 (45.7%). Survey responses reveal the pandemic and associated public health responses have had a negative effect on young people’s health, wellbeing and education in 2021.

Mission Australia’s CEO, James Toomey said: “Without the right supports and policy settings in place, there is a real concern the pandemic will have long-term impacts on our young people.”

Rounding out the top three most important national issues in 2021 were the environment (38.0%) and equity and discrimination (35.4%).

“These responses are given in the context of a crescendo of public dialogue accompanying national and international events such as COVID-19 lockdowns and outbreak responses, climate change campaigns, extreme weather events such as bushfires, drought and floods, and the Black Lives Matter movement,” Mr Toomey said.

Mr Toomey continued: “Our Youth Survey Report 2021 reveals cause for optimism in many respects, and that many young people are doing well while taking on 2021’s challenges.

“But we know that more must be done to ensure young people have ample opportunities to access education, employment and services when they need them, particularly as we move toward pandemic recovery and a ‘COVID-normal’ existence. Regardless of a young person’s background, location or experience, access to appropriate support at the right time can be life changing.

“Young people have the answers. It’s a matter of ensuring they are genuinely listened to, included in decision-making processes, and their concerns acted upon. It’s the brightest way forward for us all.”