* Youth embody ‘spirit’ of 21st century more than parents, new survey shows
Younger people in Bangladesh are substantially more likely than older people in the country to be aware of climate change, says a new international survey by UNICEF and Gallup released ahead of World Children’s Day.
The findings come from the poll The Changing Childhood Project, the first of its kind to ask multiple generations for their views on the world and what it is like to be a child today. The poll surveyed more than 21,000 people across two age cohorts (15-24 years old and 40 years old and up) in 21 countries, across all regions and income levels, including Bangladesh.
The survey shows that children and young people are nearly 50 per cent more likely than older people to believe that the world is becoming a better place with each generation, and that childhood has improved, with overwhelming majorities believing that healthcare, education, and physical safety are better for today's children than for their parents' generation.
Yet, despite their optimism, young people are far from naïve, expressing restlessness for action on climate change, skepticism about information they consume on social media, and struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety. They are far more likely than older people to see themselves as global citizens, and more likely to embrace international cooperation to tackle threats like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is no shortage of reasons for pessimism in the world today: Climate change, the pandemic, poverty and inequality, rising distrust, and growing nationalism. But here is a reason for optimism: Children and young people refuse to see the world through the bleak lens of adults,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“Compared to older generations, the world’s young people remain hopeful, much more globally minded, and determined to make the world a better place. Today’s young people have concerns for the future but see themselves as part of the solution.”
“Their views on the world might differ on some aspects from their peers’ in other countries, but their vision is the same: the need to act now for a better future.”
In the countries surveyed, Bangladesh has the second-lowest share of young people believing that it's very important for political leaders to listen to children.
“The views of young people matter. The survey makes clear that we need to carve out more space for them to speak up, to voice their concerns, to share their aspirations,” added Yett.
Key findings on Bangladeshi young people’s views on the world and how these compare with views of their peers from the other surveyed countries: Bangladesh is one of the countries with the most young people (91 per cent) eager for government to take significant climate action.
Bangladesh has the second-lowest share of young people believing that it's very important for political leaders to listen to children. Bangladesh is amongst the top four countries where young people believe children will be better off economically than their parents. On the other hand, young people in high-income countries have little faith in economic progress.
Eighty-one per cent of young people believe education has gotten better over the past generation, placing Bangladesh amongst the top five countries. Young people in Bangladesh are less trusting than older people of national government, scientists, religious organizations and national media as sources of accurate information.
More than twice as many young people report using the internet daily than older people, ranking Bangladesh third for having a significant generational difference.