Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Finances a big worry for teenagers:

A national survey of 15-19 year olds identifies finances as their biggest worry.
Date: December 05 2012
Editor Rating:

Financial stress has overtaken the environment as the number one issue worrying Australia's youth, according to the nation's largest poll of young people.

The 2012 Mission Australia National Youth Survey found almost a third of people aged 15 to 19 think "the economy and financial matters" are Australia's top issue.

Last year, almost 37.4 per cent said the environment was the most important issue in Australia.

In 2012, the environment plummeted to number six on the list of young people's concerns, coming behind the second-placed issue of population (27.6 per cent), then alcohol and drugs (21.8 per cent), politics and societal values (20.6 per cent), equity and discrimination (20.2 per cent) and the environment.

The study's author, Dr Bronwen Dalton, told ABC radio when times were tough people turned to the more "bread-and-butter" issues in life.

"I think the economy has moved to the front page of the papers," Dr Dalton said.

"That could have filtered down to the kitchen tables."

She added that for many young people, the concerns about financial stability came from their life experience.

This "crowded out" concerns about climate change, she said.

"It was deeply touching how many young people are concerned about the situation in their own homes and trying to do part-time jobs to help mum and dad meet their costs and meet their rent," she told ABC radio.

However, she cautioned this could lead to stress.

The 2012 survey also quizzed young people on personal issues and found coping with stress was top of the list.

Almost one in five young Australians (17.1 per cent) said they were "extremely concerned" about coping with stress and close to a quarter (23 per cent) said they were "very concerned" about coping with stress.

School or study problems and body image woes were the next most pressing personal issues for young people.

More than 15,000 people aged 15 to 19 responded to the Mission Australia survey across Australia.

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