AIHW news

Australia’s youth—the AIHW’s first comprehensive youth report since 2015!

The article was originally posted on LinkedIn by Barry Sandison, AIHW CEO.

I’m very pleased that we’ve returned with our first comprehensive report on the health and wellbeing of Australia’s young people since 2015. Another significant contribution to improving the availability of valuable evidence on key social issues.

Australia’s youth brings together data about young people aged 12–24 and their experiences of school and higher education, mental health and wellbeing, employment, living circumstances, and personal relationships.

The initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic heightened some of the challenges faced by young Australians with early evidence suggesting that, compared with older age groups, young people experienced higher rates of psychological distress, job loss, and educational disruption. However, while data suggest some outcomes have returned to pre-COVID levels, ongoing monitoring is needed to fully understand the longer-term impacts of the pandemic.

Despite the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, most 15 to 24-year-olds were studying and/or working in May 2020 and February 2021; and almost 3 in 5 (59%) young people aged 15–19 years felt happy/very happy with their lives in 2020; similar to 2019 (61%).

In the past 2 decades, rates of young people engaged in drinking at risky levels, daily smoking, and recent use of illicit drugs have fallen dramatically.

Overall, the proportion of young people aged 14–24 who smoke daily has more than halved, from 19.3% in 2001 to 6.8% in 2019.

Deaths among young people in Australia, have fallen markedly over the past 2 decades, with about 1,300 deaths in 2019. In 2017-2019, injury, cancer, and diseases of the nervous system were the leading causes of death for young people aged 15–24.

Find out more in the published “In-brief” summary and the full web report.

Congratulations to all the teams involved in developing this significant and valuable resource! And a special congratulations and thank you to the young people who were involved in drafting information pieces on 3 topics of particular importance to them: discrimination, climate change, and the wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ young people.

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