A long-term study has confirmed what we’ve known for ages: that being a young Aussie in this day and age sucks, actually, and that the system is rigged to have us feeling defeated. Just in case you felt alone in your Tuesday spiral.
The 19th edition of University of Melbourne’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey found that young people are dealing with way more curve balls from life than the generations before us, and that this was already going on pre-pandemic.
The long-term study, which has been tracking the lives of 17,000 Australians since 2001, revealed that younger Aussies are taking longer to find full-time work than any other generation. And that was before COVID-19 hit.
In 2019, more than half of people aged 15 to 25 years old were employed casually, and these are stats that don’t take into account the loss of jobs that came with the pandemic.
On top of that, and I imagine directly related to it, the study also found that graduate salaries are also declining, house prices are soaring, and more young people are living at home.
In 2001, 62% of women aged 18 to 21 and 32% aged 22 to 25 lived with their parents, while in 2019 those numbers increased to 72% and 50%.
What do those all have in common, you wonder? Hitting classic milestones like settling into a 9-5 or buying a house are harder to attain than they used to be. Which means young people are feeling the pressure — though we probably didn’t need to tell you that considering 30% of Aussies between 18 to 25 in the study reported feeling psychological distress, which is a 41% increase since 2007.
Per The Age, Professor Roger Wilkins, who is a lead author of the report, said young Aussies are finding it harder to transition into the traditional ideals of adulthood.
“It’s becoming harder to sort of make that transition into what we traditionally think of as adulthood, where you’re economically independent and you can buy a home and start a family and all those things,” he said.
“On a range of metrics, it does look like things have worsened for young people and then on top of that, we see this growth in psychological distress in the community which is very much concentrated among younger people, particularly young women aged under 25.”
There ya have it folks. Next time your crusty old uncle rinses you for still living at home, or not working full time yet, show him this. Things are hard, and it’s not just you that feels that way. At least we’re in this together?