Issues of Concern for our Youth

As part of our annual Youth Survey, we spoke to 19,500 young people about their experiences, thoughts and concerns. Along with the challenges young people face, we found four issues that occupied the hearts and minds of 15–19-year old’s in 2023. The environment (44%), equity and discrimination (31%), the economy and financial matters (31%) and mental health (30%) topped the issues they considered most important in Australia today.

Four biggest issues on the minds of young people in 2023.

  1. Young people are concerned about the environment.

Responses from young people surveyed found that the environment (44%) continues to be highlighted as the number one issue facing Australia today. In 2023, it was identified by young people as the most important issue for the second year in a row. Additionally, 21% of Youth Survey respondents said they were personally ‘extremely’ or ‘very concerned’ about climate change this year. These results should be a call to action for governments, given the engagement that young people have with the impacts of our changing climate and environment.

2.  Equity and discrimination matter to young people.

With public conversations about racism and the Voice Referendum, young people said they felt strongly about issues of equity and discrimination. Of our respondents, 31% identified equity and discrimination as one of the most important issues in Australia today. For 27% of young people surveyed, their concern stems from personal experience of being treated unfairly or discriminated against in the last year, most commonly due to physical appearance, race/cultural background or gender.

3.  Economic and financial matters on many young minds.

Over the past year, the economy and financial matters, such as the cost-of-living crisis and interest rate rises, caused greater levels of concern among young people. Just under a third of young people (31%), identified it as one of the most important issues in Australia today. In 2023, 31% of young people who responded to our survey said they were concerned about economic and financial matters, compared with 22% in 2022 and 11% in 2021. Young people were also concerned about related issues with 19% reporting concerns about homelessness and housing (up from 12% in 2022) and 15% of young people were personally ‘extremely’ or ‘very concerned’ about financial security.

4.  Mental health is a national and personal concern.

Respondents in our annual Youth Survey said mental health (30%) was one of the most important issues in Australia today and 32% of young people were personally ‘extremely’ or ‘very concerned’ about mental health. Mental health is also a deeply personal issue, with 24% of respondents personally facing a mental health challenge this year. Some young people shared experiences relating to:




Low self-esteem

Diagnosed disorders or self-harm

Mental health can affect young people in a myriad of ways. One in three young people said nothing more could help, or they were unsure what could help with their challenges, indicating there is an opportunity to improve awareness of the supports available.

Mission Australia’s Youth Survey includes responses from 19,501 young people aged 15 to 19 surveyed between April and August 2023. The results of the Youth Survey are shared with governments, non-government organisations, schools and the media to inform the debate around the circumstances of young people in Australia and to support the development of policies, services and programs that hold the needs of young people at their core.

Source: Mission Australia

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